Taking Stock of the Human Microbiome and Disease

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6086, pp. 1246-1247
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6086.1246

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Our bodies, inside and out, are teeming with trillions of microbes. Most of them are our friends, helping us to digest food, strengthen our immune systems, and keep dangerous enemy pathogens from invading our tissues and organs. Evidence is building that this resident community of microbes, called the microbiome, plays a major role in health and disease. When the normal composition of the microbiome is thrown off balance, researchers say, the human host can get into serious trouble—especially because the 5 million to 8 million different microbial genes in our bodies vastly outnumber the 20,000 or so human genes. Indeed, recent research has implicated microbiome imbalances in disorders as diverse as cancer, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, asthma, and possibly even autism.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science

Editor's Blog