Human Microbiome Project
The Human Microbiome (HMP) is the collection of all the microorganisms living in association with the human body. These communities consist of a variety of microorganisms including eukaryotes, archaea, bacteria and viruses. Bacteria in an average human body number ten times more than human cells, for a total of about 1000 more genes than are present in the human genome. Because of their small size, however, microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of our body mass (that's 2 to 6 pounds of bacteria in a 200-pound adult). These microbes are generally not harmful to us, in fact they are essential for maintaining health.
For example, they produce some vitamins that we do not have the genes to make, break down our food to extract nutrients we need to survive, teach our immune systems how to recognize dangerous invaders and even produce helpful anti-inflammatory compounds that fight off other disease-causing microbes. An ever-growing number of studies have demonstrated that changes in the composition of our microbiomes correlate with numerous disease states, raising the possibility that manipulation of these communities could be used to treat disease.
JCVI Researchers, as Part of NIH Human Microbiome Project Consortium, Publish Papers Detailing the Variety and Abundance of Microbes Living on and in the Human Body
Study Represents Largest Group of Healthy Individuals Studied to Date
JCVI also Details its Metagenomics Reports (METAREP) Open Source Bioinformatics Tool
Venter Institute Scientists, Along with Consortium Members of the NIH's Human Microbiome Project, Sequence 178 Microbial Reference Genomes Associated with the Human Body
Consortium Finds Greater Microbial Diversity in Human Microbiome than Previously Known
This project was funded through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant #1U54AI084844-01.