What have scientists been up to?

1680s: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek compares the bugs in his mouth and stool
2001: Joshua Lederberg, an American molecular biologist, coins the term “human microbiome”
2007: NIH Human Microbiome Project (HMP) launched
2012: Two landmark papers on HMP are published in Nature
2013: Crowd-funded American Gut Project launched and is ongoing
2014: Second phase NIH Integrative Human Microbiome Project (iHMP) launched
2016: National Microbiome Initiative launched to coordinate study of microbiomes across different ecosystems

Did you know?

• A normal human microbiome includes around 1,000 different species.
• The human microbiome contributes 360 times more bacterial genes than you have human genes.
• 2–3% of your body weight is microbes.
• If collected together, your microbiome would occupy about 3 pints.
• The human genome has fewer than 20 carbohydrate-digesting enzymes; the genome of just one gut bacterium—Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron—has over 260 such enzymes.
• 95% of your bacteria are located in your gastrointestinal tract (gut)
• The surface of your skin harbors 200–300 bacterial species.