The Mighty World of Microbes: An Overview



The world of microbes on our planet is vast and diverse. This includes the normal bacterial flora present on the skin and mucous membranes of humans. The human microbiome project (HMP) was launched by NIH in 2007 as a part of a road map for medical research. The HMP serves as a template for researchers who are studying more than 1,000 microbial genomes with a focus on their role in health and disease. The study samples have been derived from five human body regions that are known to be inhabited by microbial flora. These include the gastrointestinal tract, female urogenital tract, mouth, nose, and skin. The techniques being used include finger printing, sequencing, dynamic range, and comparison of multiple samples. It is now well accepted that there are more microbial cells than human cells in the human body. Just the gastrointestinal tract harbors more than tenfold microbial cells than the number of human cells in the entire body. The understanding of the relationship between microbes and humans is at best rudimentary at this point in time. Similarly, the relationship between humans and microbes in the environment and environmental surfaces is poorly understood except for a few pathogenic microbes.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus West Nile Virus Hand Hygiene Prion Disease Rabies Virus 


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal MedicineEastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Molecular Cell BiologyEastern Virginia Medical SchoolNorfolkUSA

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