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How to Combat an Inflated Ego...

If you're losing friends because of a supersized ego, consider this:

In a study published in the June 2 issue of Science, scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) and their colleagues describe and analyze the colon microbiome, which includes more than 60,000 genes–twice as many as found in the human genome. Some of these microbial genes code for enzymes that humans need to digest food, suggesting that bacteria in the colon co-evolved with their human host, to mutual benefit.

That's right, there's more genetic information in the criters that inhabit your colon than it takes to build the rest of your body.

Of course, the same applies to the rest of us too, so maybe this isn't all that humbling.


Actually, if you think about it, that should give us all an ego boost. It just means that our genomes are far more efficient than those of our microbe guests.

Number of genes doesn't matter as much as how you use the ones you have.

Or something like that...

This is merely more confirmation that humanity is bacteria's space program.

Or to put it another way: Those bacterial genes are actually ours. We've just subcontracted out some of the digestion process to the bacteria.

So this really means the human genome is actually bigger than we thought, and that not all of it is in one place.

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