Microbial Genes and the Human Genome

Attended a 2 day conference on the Future of Genomic Medicine at Scripps. The Keynote speaker was J Craig Venter who blew my mind as usual. He expanded our awareness of genomics to the vast numbers of microbial genes that live in and on us. Estimated at 10 million – most in our mouth and digestive tract. – the human microbiome.

Human Microbiome

This knowledge underscores how interrelated we are with our environment and of course by extension with our diet. According to Dr Venter, after a meal there are some 500 chemicals in our blood, many of which are either the direct or indirect result of our “passengers” as he calls them with an estimate of 1:10 bacteria to virus ratio. Perhaps Dr Venter can reprogram some microbes to remove the oil in the Gulf of Mexico? Wouldn’t that be cool?

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