Saturday, January 30, 2016

Humans: 1 Part Bacterial, 1 Part Human

A favorite opening line for microbiome researchers is that we have 10 times more microbial cells than human cells. However, a new paper up on bioRxiv suggests that the number of bacterial and humans are equal! About 10^13 for each.

The paper arrives at this result by revisiting papers with measurements of bacteria per gram of wet stool, the volume of the colon, and estimates on the number of human cells per organ type.

It looks like the name of this blog is off. Unless I count viruses...

Guess I'll have to retire this shirt...


  1. Hi Sara! I hope you are doing great! I was excited to find your blog and your post about your research on gut microbiome of termites from Okinawa - well - until the moment I found out that it is 6 years old :)

    (I'm moving to Okinawa in few weeks to study there termites and also their microbial symbionts at OIST - Okinawa institute of science and technology) - I'm wondering - did you find anything exciting on termite microbiome - if there is paper I would love to read it!
    Take care. Ales

  2. I did not publish, but I worked in the lab of Yuichi Hongoh at Tokyo Tech. You can find his lab's publications by searching for Hongoh Y in pubmed.