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The HIDDEN World of Microbiomes

The HIDDEN World of Microbiomes


Microbiomes are collections of microorganisms
that live together in a given environment. Every soil and sediment on Earth has a microbiome.
There are microbiomes in the ocean and even in the atmosphere. In your body, there are microbiomes in your
skin, your mouth, your digestive track, anywhere the body comes into contact with the outside
world. All life on earth evolved together so microbes
need us and we need them. We depend on microorganisms to help us break
down nutrients and produce important vitamins and enzymes in our digestive system. It is estimated there are over 1000 different
kinds of microorganisms living inside our bodies, containing about 300 times more genes
than our own human cells. If you put together all the microorganisms
inside you into one mass, it would weigh as much as 6 pounds. In comparison, your brain
weighs about 3 pounds! Each of us carries inside of us a unique fingerprint
of microbial diversity. Your unique microbiome starts as soon as you
are born, and is influenced by your diet, your experiences, what you’re exposed to
and where you live. In some cases, your microbiomes can even affect
your mood and behavior. Scientists believe there are several pathways
through which the bacteria and other microbes in your body influence your brain chemistry. For example, experiments have shown that organisms
that are raised in completely sterile environments perform differently in tasks related to learning,
memory and social behavior. Currently, scientists don’t have a perfect
understanding of how these microbiomes work. Although we can catalogue with incredible
precision and speed the number of microbes living inside of us and around us, we still
have a large gap in knowing how these communities interact with each other and with their environments. To develop the kinds of tools needed to study
microbial communities and how they function, we need a unified approach that draws on many
different disciplines. From the inside of one cell up to the size
of our entire planet, we need new technologies and methods to help us decipher the working
principles of these communities. If we can understand these complex systems,
it would have a large impact in how we interact with the natural world. There are applications in agriculture and
crop productivity, in climate science and carbon cycling, in sustainable energy and
biofuels, and in health and medicine to treat disease or create new therapies. Understanding microbiomes may even help us
one day to colonize new planets. Microbes were here on Earth before us and
they are an important part of what makes this planet habitable. If we wanted to colonize Mars, for example,
it would be critical to understand the role microbes play and how they integrate with
a new ecosystem. We are only just now beginning to understand
the full breath of services microbes have to offer. There’s a whole invisible microbial world
out there that we didn’t know existed before, and we are almost at the cusp of understanding
this huge part of our environment and our own bodies. Microorganism communities may be small, but
they’re also very important. As they say, it’s the little things that
make a big difference.

Comments (18)

  1. (Reposting the video) Curious about the new National Microbiome Initiative? Find out what Microbiomes are in this video!

  2. Once we complete the 'human microbiome project' and reduce the cost of doing it for a patient to something reasonable or indeed negligible, then we will truly be in a world of personalised medicine.

  3. I find this not only fascinating but important and meaningful

  4. talks about microbes, draws a virus, i don't think thats right :p

  5. Doc! Weve gone back in time!
    No marty it is only a repost…

  6. 6 pounds are 2,72 kg, use international system!!

  7. How come I feel like I've seen this before? Like I definitely saw the shot with the mice behaving differently if they live in sterile environment compared to normal

    Was that shot just reused, was the video reposted, or can I just see glimpses of the future?

  8. Beautiful science

  9. The amount of exposure to antibiotics also affects and individual's personal microbiomes.

  10. 🙁 I hate it when I feel bacterial (1:04)

  11. This just in: Monsanto patents microbiome X.

  12. One of the best overviews of microbiomes I've seen! Good work, PHD.

  13. interesante of the vídeo

  14. 1:05 # feelin' bacterial

  15. I appreciate that the picture of the globe showed Africa and South America!!

  16. who else is watching this in science class

  17. microbes existed before anything else, photosynthesis began in microbes and it is the same microbes that evolved into chlorophyll, microbes worked together and created "biofilms" around their communities that is the beginning of our branch of life on the tree, all organs, blood, senses, consciousness developed as supports for our microbes.

  18. www.microbioma.org is the largest microbiome donor database, I've signed up and became a microbiome donor

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