Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Human Microbiome Congress

Wikipedia Image
Say what?

Never heard of the "human microbiome" much less The Human Microbiome Congress?

Perhaps, then, you are a new Dredd Blog System reader, so welcome!

According to leading microbiologists, a revolution has been taking place in biological science.

A revolution that has had such an impact on various disciplines that the phrase "issues once thought settled are up in the air" has been used to describe the emerging discoveries.

Some of the discoveries are equivalent to Einstein's theory of relativity in some ways, and others are greater discoveries than some major scientific discoveries we read about in our textbooks.

But before we get into further details of the discussion of this new realm of science, notice the overarching concept of the human microbiome:
Human Microbiome research has become one of the most exciting fields in biology, generating fascinating insights into the relations of microbes and man and the effects of our microbes on our health and well-being. World leading scientists will discuss the new findings, their impacts and the future trends at the next International Human Microbiome Congress ...
(The Human Microbiome Congress, emphasis added). There are various links to relevant posts within the Dredd Blog System, located on the Series Posts Page (see the Series Posts tab at the top of any Dredd Blog post) under the heading HUMAN MICROBIOME.

These Dredd Blog System posts quote leading scientists and their papers to explain how each person is an ecosystem, composed mostly of microbe cells rather than mostly human cells:
... some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes ... 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial ... exchanging messages with genes inside human cells ... microbes cohabitating our body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10, making us actually “superorganisms” that use our own genetic repertoire as well as those of our microbial symbionts ... We just happen to look human because our human cells are much larger than bacterial cells ... no matter how you look at it, it’s high time we acknowledge that part of being human is being microbial ...
(The Tiniest Scientists Are Very Old). That is just a first glimpse, so hang on, I am not through shocking you yet:
Microbes may indeed be subtly changing our brain early on — and for what purposes we cannot yet say ... the mere fact that microorganisms can shape our minds brings up many more questions about how humans develop their identity ... these findings call for a complete re-examination of human physiology and immunology. Attributes that were assumed to be human traits have been shown to result from human–microbe interactions.
(See A Structure RE: The Corruption of Memes, and Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power). With all that microbial genetic material, perhaps there was not so much of a need for "human" genetic material:
Some would say that genomics has been able to distil some humility into humankind. The finalised version of the human genome deprived us of the illusion that we are one of the most complex creatures on Earth — an illusion that was at the basis of some guesses that Homo sapiens was expected to have at least 100,000 genes. When we look at a table of genomes by species, and specifically at the number of genes that have been counted or estimated for each species, we notice that humans are surpassed by several plants and invertebrates.
(Nature, emphasis added). Will a yogi ask us someday "are you in touch with your inner microbe, and is your inner microbe in touch with you", and/or will we find that our mindless pollution of the world at large is the source of mental and physical disease?

Seriously reading these Dredd Blog System posts, which link to the central locations where these discoveries are being reported, will reveal to you how this blog tries to keep you posted on revolutionary scientific events.

Take note that the Dredd Blog System is at your service, and that we offer the following sources for you perusal, as an example of the type of material we link to in the ongoing series of posts dealing with human-microbe symbiosis:

Chemical and Engineering News
Science Daily
American Society for Microbiology
Cambridge Books
Proceedings National Academy of Sciences
NATURE Journal
Berkeley Microbiology Lectures
Health Central
New England Journal of Medicine
American Scientist
Scientific American
Seed Magazine
NY Times
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

This is by no means a complete list used in Dredd Blog System posts, it is only placed here to show you that we use strong references.

Dr. Bonnie Bassler, Princeton University:

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