Bacteria, Germs Outnumber Cells 10-1, Adding Pounds to Your Body

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Thousands of strains of germs and bacteria are adding pounds to your body weight, according to a new study.

The New York Times reports that researchers at 80 institutions spent five years sequencing genetic material of bacteria taken from the noses of 250 healthy people, and found that humans have more germs than ever imagined. In fact, the Human Microbiome Project discovered that microbes outnumber human cells by 10-to-1, adding several pounds of body weight.

The Times reports that it is well-established that human beings carry within them and on them millions of microbes, but the number of strains has until now been a mystery. The research may help scientists understand how and why bacteria sometimes turn against the body and make people ill.

We need to understand better what the normal microbiome is like and what happens to it when it changes to cause or influence disease," Eric Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute told the Wall Street Journal.

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