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Your body’s relationship with bacteria

with Dr. Claire Fraser, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Original premiere date: 8 November 2019

Your body has been colonized by bacteria, fungi, protozoa, viruses and microbes.

There are so many of them that you amount for about half of you and the other half are all of the other bits of organic life that like to call you home. They are known as the microbiome and they possess 200 times more genes than you do.

Think of a part of your body and that’s where you’ll find microbes and bacteria and nowhere more so than in your gastrointestinal tract. Most of them live in perfect harmony with you when your body functions the way it was designed to work. When something goes awry... well, that’s when everything gets knocked off kilter and you can get sick, really sick.

Antibiotics that are designed to treat disease and infection also kill off enormous amounts of microbes and set up an environment that can and often leads to C-Diff, or C. difficile, which causes diarrhea and colitis.

Understanding the complex interplay between microbes, bacteria and the myriad fungi and protozoa in your GI is underway. One of the key elements in establishing a baseline in the on-going research has been the mapping of the human microbiome.

Recently, Dr Claire Fraser, a leader in genomics who played a lead role in mapping the human genome, who used genomics to identify the source of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, has been instrumental in the NIH mapping of the microbiome project and is Genome BC’s 2019 Don Rix Distinguished Keynote speaker.

She joined us for a Conversation That Matters about you, the organisms you are host to and your relationship with them.

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