Conversations That Matter: Colonies of your body

Credit to Author: Massey Padgham| Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2019 15:00:52 +0000

Your body has been colonized by bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses and microbes. There are so many of them that they amount for about half of you. They are known as the microbiome and they possess 200 times more genes than you do.

Think of any part of your body and that’s where you’ll find microbes and bacteria and nowhere more so than in your gastrointestinal tract. Most of them live in perfect harmony with you when your body functions the way it was designed to work. When something goes awry, well, that’s when everything gets knocked off kilter and you can get sick, really sick.

Antibiotics that are designed to treat disease and infection also kill off enormous amounts of your microbes and set up an environment that can and often leads to difficile infections that cause diarrhea and colitis.

Understanding the complex interplay between microbes, bacteria and the myriad fungi and protozoa in your gut is a work in progress. One of the key elements in establishing a baseline in the research has been the mapping of the human microbiome.

Recently Dr. Claire Fraser, a leader in genomics who played a lead role in mapping the human genome and who used genomics to identify the source of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, has been instrumental in the U.S. National Institutes of Health mapping of the microbiome project.

She is also Genome B.C.’s 2019 Don Rix Distinguished Keynote speaker. She joined us for a Conversation That Matters about you, the organisms you are host to and your relationship with them.

Conversations That Matter is a partner program for the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University. The production of this program is made possible thanks to the support of the following and viewers like you. Please become a Patreon subscriber and support the production of this program, with a $1 pledge here.

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