You Don't Even Want To Know How Many Germs Are On The Human Tongue

Two new studies in Nature and the Public Library of Science based off the Human Microbiome Project were published yesterday that more or less report what most people would have probably guessed: humans have a whole of different germs in and on their bodies.

The Human Microbiome Project was given $173 million in funding by the U.S. government to map out all the different kinds of viruses and bacteria that are associated with humans in order to explore how these germs relate to disease.  

Unfortunately, researchers have not gotten to the point of linking bacteria to specific diseases. The researchers did, however, map out human-related germs for the first time and discovered that we have many more bacteria with a much greater diversity of species than previously imagined

The report is a treasure trove of data. One example of this increased diversity is seen in the graph below, as researchers have found eleven variants of Streptococcus alone on the human tongue.

germsDifferent variants of Streptococcus and their abundance on the human tongue.

Photo: Nature

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