Human Microbes: Background information when reading The Wild Life of Our Bodies

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The Wild Life of Our Bodies

Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

By Rob Dunn

The Wild Life of Our Bodies
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2011,
    304 pages.

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Beyond the Book:
Human Microbes

salmonella In an article in The Daily Telegraph, Dr. Roy Sleator, a lecturer at Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland, states that, "We are, in essence, only 10 percent human. The rest is pure microbe." In a June 2011 report, National Public Radio's Science Desk Correspondent, Robert Krulwich, agrees. Yes, he says, our bodies do indeed consist of roughly ten times more microbial cells than human cells. And they are, for the most part, not just handy but essential to our existence. Especially the ones inside our intestinal tract.

Krulwich goes on to report the recent discovery that different people the world over have varying sets of intestinal microbes. These sets of microbes have been found to determine whether or not we are susceptible to certain diseases, even whether we are prone to obesity. It all begins the moment we are born. In utero we are microbe free, a tabula rasa upon which no germ has laid a "leg." However, as soon as we make our way into the world, whether via birth canal...

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