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This blog is all about science and technology (with occasional math thrown in for fun). The goal of this blog is to try and pass on the sense of excitement and wonder I feel when I read about these topics. I hope you enjoy the posts.

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Human Cells to Human Bacteria Cells Ratio

Posted January 10, 2016 12:44 PM by Bayes

The Human Menagerie

We tend to think of ourselves as a single organism made up of human cells with specific purposes. Liver cells, brain cells, red blood cells all coming together to create....us, human beings. However, the truth is more complicated. Human beings consist of human cells, yes, but also what's known as the human microbiota, an aggregate of microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi, that live on and in the human body performing essential tasks.

It was believed that the human microbiota far outnumbered human cells with some estimates providing ratios of 10-1 or even 100-1 bacteria to human cells. However, more recently those ratios have been increasingly viewed with skepticism and now a study recently released is suggesting that ratio is probably closer to 1-1.

Here is an interesting article from ScienceNews detailing that study:

Body's bacteria don't outnumber human cells so much after all

Human bodies don't contain 10 times as many bacteria as human cells, new calculations suggest. A "standard man" weighing 70 kilograms has roughly the same number of bacteria and human cells in his body, researchers report online January 6 at bioRxiv.org. This average guy would be composed of about 40 trillion bacteria and 30 trillion human cells, calculate researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. That's a ratio of 1.3 bacteria to every one human cell.

That estimate could be off by as much as 25 percent, with the average number of bacteria ranging from 30 trillion to 50 trillion. Among individual people, the bacterial count could vary as much as 52 percent, say Ron Sender, Shai Fuchs and Ron Milo. With a fudge factor of 10 trillion to 20 trillion bacteria, the number of microbes may pretty well match the number of human cells in the body, which also varies somewhat. "Indeed, the numbers are similar enough that each defecation event may flip the ratio to favor human cells over bacteria," the researchers write.

Article continues here

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#1

Re: Human Cells to Human Bacteria Cells Ratio

01/10/2016 2:39 PM

OK, if it's 1:1, then do all these cells weigh the same? If you weigh 180 pounds, does this mean you actually weigh 90 pounds and you are carrying around 90 pounds of bacteria? Yuck!

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#2

Re: Human Cells to Human Bacteria Cells Ratio

01/10/2016 3:29 PM

Hahaha not unless you are full of she it,,,the vast majority of bacteria are located in the colon.....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Composition_of_the_human_body

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#3

Re: Human Cells to Human Bacteria Cells Ratio

01/11/2016 9:20 AM

The microbiotica cells are tiny, compared to the huge, bloated cells that make up muscles, organs, and white blood cells (Red blood cells are pretty small, but they've jetisoned a lot of 'unneeded baggage' to prepare for their job, baggage like their nucleus). So even if we're outnumbered 10-1 by census count (and from that, lass likely a 'person' and more likely a 'petri dish with shoes,' to use the popular analogy) 99.999% of our weight is 'us,' Sadly, you cannot blame your microflora for being overweight, it's all on you, your own genes, and your own eating habits.

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#4

Re: Human Cells to Human Bacteria Cells Ratio

01/11/2016 12:44 PM

You are a big ugly bag of mostly water according to a Star Trek episode.

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#5

Re: Human Cells to Human Bacteria Cells Ratio

01/11/2016 4:04 PM

Sounds like Lor.

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#6

Re: Human Cells to Human Bacteria Cells Ratio

01/13/2016 2:19 PM

Actually I think that was the silicon based Horta.

Oops my geek is showing, again.

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