Various research projects aimed to tabulate diversity and activities of communities of bacteria that cohabit human bodies reveal unexpected roles in health and disease. The National Institutes of Health's Human Microbiome Project and the European Union's Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract (MetaHIT) program is studying the role of these bacteria in developing ailments related to obesity, attraction, diet, and drug metabolism. Jeffrey J. Gordon and his colleagues at Washington University in Saint Louis reported in 2006 that obese people and mice have a consistently higher proportion of several bacterial phyla than do leaner people. Researchers led by Emory University's Andrew T. Gewirtz found that the gut microbiome of mice influence appetite and eating behavior. Jeremy K. Nicholson of Imperial College London has shown that a human microbiome affects the way a person metabolize acetaminophen.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1021/cen-v088n050.p032
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Everts, S. (2010). Our microbial selves: Projects to tabulate communities of bacteria that cohabit our bodies reveal unexpected roles in health and disease. doi:10.1021/cen-v088n050.p032