Our unique microbial identity
Argonne Environmental Microbiologist Jack Gilbert (BIO) has authored a paper in Genome Biology on how our microbial identities makes us uniquely human.
What makes us human?
Perhaps it is our individuality, our concept of self; in recent years, we have added to this concept by embracing the complexity of our microbial selves. Trillions of bacterial cells inhabit our body, outnumbering our own cells by an estimated factor of two or three. These bacterial cells also maintain a unique signature, which is most likely a result of each individual’s experiences and interactions with their environment.
Just as no two people, even identical twins, share the exact same environmental experience, no two people are colonized by the same assemblage of microbial life.
Jack Gilbert, “Our Unique Microbial Identity,” Genome Biology. DOI: 10.1186/s13059-015-0664-7, Published Online May 14, 2015.
About the Researcher
Jack A. Gilbert is the group leader for Microbial Ecology in the Biosciences Division. His ongoing research is focused on exploring how microbial communities assemble themselves in natural and man-made environments. His interests include the use of metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metametabolomics to answer questions about microbial ecology, microbial physiology, and biogeochemistry. Gilbert also develops predictive models that help capture our understanding of ecosystem function mediated by microorganisms.