How Microbes Defend and Define You

Scientists are often astonished by the complexity, power, and sheer number of microbes that live in the human body.

In recent years, scientists have started to study the landscape of microbe in a new way -- by gathering DNA. A single sample may yield millions of fragments of DNA from hundreds of different species.

According to the New York Times:

“The new surveys are helping scientists understand the many ecosystems our bodies offer microbes. In the mouth alone ... there are between 500 and 1,000 species ... Scientists are even discovering ecosystems in our bodies where they weren’t supposed to exist ... Every square centimeter of our lungs is home to 2,000 microbes.”

Humans are colonized by microbes every day of their lives. Your immune system tolerates thousands of harmless species, while attacking pathogens. And the microbes themselves guides your immune system to the proper balance.

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