Human evolution

Coffee!! We are at most one per cent human?

Spread the love

In Scientific American, we learn “ThNeuroscience of the Gut: Strange but true: the brain is shaped by bacteria in the digestive tract” (Robert Martone, April 19, 2011):

We human beings may think of ourselves as a highly evolved species of conscious individuals, but we are all far less human than most of us appreciate. Scientists have long recognized that the bacterial cells inhabiting our skin and gut outnumber human cells by ten-to-one. Indeed, Princeton University scientist Bonnie Bassler compared the approximately 30,000 human genes found in the average human to the more than 3 million bacterial genes inhabiting us, concluding that we are at most one percent human. We are only beginning to understand the sort of impact our bacterial passengers have on our daily lives.

Then how come we don’t all dissolve in the chlorine in the swimming pool?

15 Replies to “Coffee!! We are at most one per cent human?

  1. 1
    Ilion says:

    Then how come we don’t all dissolve in the chlorine in the swimming pool?

    *grin* You have a talent! (I am certain it was Mrs O’Leary who asked that, as it is “so her”)

  2. 2
    aedgar says:

    This discovery is the death knell for antibacterial soap. With the exception of course, of those who want to commit suicide. I wonder how the antibacterial soap companies will market that?

    I’ll have my coffee now!

  3. 3
    Joseph says:

    Genes? She is counting genes to make that determination?

    Why not the products or is she unaware of alternative gene splicing and overlapping genes?

    Then she needs to include all the cells, differentiated and bacterial.

    So it should be the number of differentiated cells and collective number of genomic products vs. all the bacterial clls and thei collective number of genomic products.

    And that would be why we don’t dissolve in a chlorinated swimming pool- I guess it would depend on the amount of chlorine and the time period.

  4. 4
    tragic mishap says:

    All that proves is the information in our genes is vastly superior to the information in bacterial genes. Perhaps the bacterial genes have evolved much faster. So much the worse for them.

  5. 5
    Collin says:

    Bacteria may beat us in number, but in terms of mass they are much much less. A eukariotic cell is much much bigger than a prokaryotic cell.

  6. 6
    utidjian says:


    Oh I dunno about that. IIRC the total biomass of the prokaryotes outweighs the total biomass of the eukaryotes by a very large margin. On the order of 10:1.

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    I am at most .98% human.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    Gads! Or was it that I am at most .98% chimpanzee. I can never keep those straight.

  9. 9
    MedsRex says:

    you might be .98% chimp…i’m bonobo.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    I would be celebrating our differences, if it weren’t for our similarities.

    I have this horrible broken Vitamin C gene. Do you?

  11. 11
    Mung says:

    Any decent designer would have broken the “fat gene.”


  12. 12
    MedsRex says:

    Thank God for GULO.
    I looove fruit.

  13. 13
    MedsRex says:

    well it’s irrefutable that a good designer would have broken the “doubt the designer” gene!
    Oooops I’m delving into the theological zone…retreat!

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    you might be .98% chimp…i’m bonobo.

    The ScienceDaily article noted: “[I]n about 0.5% of our genome, we are closer related to orangutans than we are to chimpanzees … and in about 0.5%, chimpanzees are closer related to orangutans than us,” and the paper cited concluded:

    Our analyses find that for ~0.8% of our genome, humans are more closely related to orangutans than to chimpanzees.

    No mention of any stinking bonobos.

  15. 15
    MedsRex says:

    mung @14
    man how did I know you would say that? Hilarious!
    I guess my theory has been falsified!

Leave a Reply