The Human Microbiome

The Human Microbiome


Microscopic life form, including bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists, viruses, and mites.

A collection or community of microbes.

The full collection of genes of all the microbes in a community. The human microbiome is a counterpart to the human genome. The human genome is the collection of all of our genes. The human microbiome is the collection of all of the genes in all of the microbes in and on our bodies. The genes in our microbiome outnumber the genes in our genome by about 100 to 1.

Intro to Microbiomes

Microbes are everywhere: in the soil, in the water, and even in our bodies. That's right! Microbes cover every surface of our bodies, both inside and out. These microscopic life forms represent thousands of species, and they outnumber our own cells by about 10 to 1.

Some scientists view our resident microbes as a newly discovered and largely unexplored organ, with many functions that are essential for life. Explore the pages below to learn more about the human microbiome.


Supported by an award from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health. Grant No. R25AI095212. The contents provided here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH.


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APA format:
Genetic Science Learning Center (2014, June 22) The Human Microbiome. Learn.Genetics. Retrieved September 16, 2014, from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/microbiome
MLA format:
Genetic Science Learning Center. "The Human Microbiome." Learn.Genetics 16 September 2014 <http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/microbiome>
Chicago format:
Genetic Science Learning Center, "The Human Microbiome," Learn.Genetics, 22 June 2014, <http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/microbiome> (16 September 2014)