The Human Microbiome

The Human Microbiome


A collection or community of microbes.

Some use “microbiome” to mean all the microbes in a community. We and others use it to mean the full collection of genes of all the microbes in a community. The human microbiome (all of our microbes’ genes) can be considered a counterpart to the human genome (all of our genes). The genes in our microbiome outnumber the genes in our genome by about 100 to 1.

Meet the Microbiome

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 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.


383 Colorow Dr, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

APA format:
Genetic Science Learning Center (2014, June 22) The Human Microbiome. Learn.Genetics. Retrieved June 25, 2016, from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/microbiome/
MLA format:
Genetic Science Learning Center. "The Human Microbiome." Learn.Genetics 25 June 2016 <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/> (25 June 2016)