Soil bacteria may be helping to make disease-causing bacteria resistant to antibiotics.
That’s according to a new study out of Washington University.
Lead researcher, microbiologist Gautam Dantas, says he and his colleagues found seven genes in farmland soil bacteria that are identical to genes in human pathogens – and that provide resistance to a wide range of antibiotics.
The associate director of Washington University in St. Louis' Genome Institute, George Weinstock, was one of this project's lead researchers. He says we have about ten times more microbial cells in our body than we have human cells.
He told our reporter Véronique LaCapra today:
“...there’s probably a hundred times or more microbial genes in our body than there are genes in our human genome,” Weinstock said. “So the microbes, they’re not just a small little part of us, they’re really a very, very large, perhaps almost dominant part of our body.”
The human body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 of those cells is actually human. The rest are from bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. Now, scientists have unveiled the first survey the "human microbiome," which includes 10,000 species and more than 8 million genes.