We are not entirely human

"We are somehow like an amalgam, a mix of bacteria and human cells.
There are some estimates that say 90 percent of the cells on our body
are actually bacteria," Steven Gill, a molecular biologist formerly at
TIGR and now at the State University of New York in Buffalo, said in a
telephone interview.

Read more here.

Comments

I prefer the ST:TNG line, "Mostly bags of water."

Good lord I hate science reporters. "Gene experts"? What, you mean like geneticists? This is like calling economists "money experts" or somesuch.

Brandon beat me to the punch on the point about relative mass and volume; it's also been known for a long time that there's a greater number of bacteria in our guts than cells in our bodies. The only new discovery here is the more exact numbers about the composition of DNA in faecal matter. I'm not sure why the researchers would be so surprised about that.

We're hardly unique in this regard, either; symbiosis abounds in nature, so saying "we're not entirely human" is a bit like sea anemones are "not entirely anemones" just because they have a symbiotic relationship with clownfish.

Nevertheless it's nice to see germs getting their due attention at last. We don't realize just how ubiquitous they are in our lives until they do something mischevious -- like a benign gut bug errantly hopping the blood-brain barrier and causing polio.

Ans Sandy, just for the sake of accuracy, it's "ugly bags of mostly water." ;)

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