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Chapter 12 : The Microbial Nature of Humans

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The Microbial Nature of Humans, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Quite a lot has been written about human microbiome research and how it changes older ideas about human autonomy, individuality, and identity (e.g., Brüssow 2015; Hutter et al. 2014; Pradeu 2014). Most of these discussions focus on how the biological basis for our “self” is in fact a consortium of different lineages of cells, and that the majority of these cells are microbial. Microbiome research has revealed how particular compositional patterns in the microbial gut communities of humans are associated with phenotypic characteristics, such as disease states. Experiments in mice have added weight to interpretations that many of these associations are causal, and that the gut microbiota is the cause of multiple human phenotypes. Although the direction of causality is seldom clear and probably goes both ways, the potential phenotypic effects of microbes on human characteristics have reinforced even more strongly the notion of human identity as deeply microbial. Indeed, some literature might make a reader think that all that matters for any human characteristic is the gut microbiota in and of itself.

Citation: O’Malley M. 2016. The Microbial Nature of Humans, p 42-46. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch12
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Citation: O’Malley M. 2016. The Microbial Nature of Humans, p 42-46. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch12
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Citation: O’Malley M. 2016. The Microbial Nature of Humans, p 42-46. In Schaechter M, In the Company of Microbes: 10 Years of Small Things Considered. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819606.ch12
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References

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