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Digestive System Organs

The digestive system is a collection of many organs, each with a specific purpose, working in unison.

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Now That’s A Gut!
Teacher Contributed

Do You Have The Guts?

Topic

Human Microbiome

Why It Matters

They're Not All Bad

Many of you are familiar with the negative effects of bacteria. Doctor's give you antibiotics, parents tell your to wash you hands and don't want you to eat food off the floor. But bacteria come is many types, they inhabit a whole microscopic world which is intimately connected to ours and yet separate at the same time. With improved genetic and molecular biological techniques, as well as improved microscopy, scientists are learning more and more about this marvelous microbial world. What they are finding is that while some bacteria are certainly our "foes", some are our crucial "allies". Find out more here about this exciting work.

Here you can find more specifics about how knowledge of our microbial biome can help our overall health.

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Use the resources below to answer the following questions:

  1. In Michael Fischbach’s opinion, what is the hardest part of the process of developing new drugs?
  2. What are two affects of the “drugs” made by bacterium in the human microbiome?
  3. What is the ratio of human cells to bacteria cells for the average human being?
  4. How is the human biome project different than other attempts to determine what bacteria live in and on humans?
  5. Why do some bacteria not culture well?
  6. Are all bacteria bad for you? Explain your answer as specifically as possible.
  7. Why do different parts of your body smell different? Explain you answer as fully as possible.
  8. How does pregnancy affect a woman's microbiome?
  9. How does the microbiome of a newborn vary with their manner of birth (natural birth vs. caesarean section)?
  10. How does diversity of the microbiome vary between a child and an adult? Develop a hypothesis to explain your answer.

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