Six Tribes of Bacteria Live in Your Inner Elbow

The crook of your elbow is a special ecosystem that provides a bountiful home to six tribes of bacteria. Even after you wash, there are still 1 million bacteria living on every square centimeter.

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These bacteria are what biologists call commensals, helpful rather than harmful organisms. They moisturize your skin by processing the raw fats that it produces.

The bacteria were discovered as part of the human microbiome project, a study researching all of the various microbes that live in people. The project is in its early stages, but has already established that the bacteria in the human microbiome collectively possess at least 100 times as many genes as the 20,000 or so in the human genome.

The bacterial cells also outnumber human cells by 10 to 1.

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Humans depend on their microbiome for essential functions, including digestion, leading microbiologists to conclude that a person should really be considered a superorganism.

You may click to see :->The multitudinous world inside your elbow

Sources:

* New York Times May 23, 2008

* Genome Research May 23, 2008

* Science May 22, 2008

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