Did you know your body contains more bacterial cells than human cells? It may sound like a surprise, but it’s a fact. The human body is an intricate system composed not only of human cells but also trillions of microorganisms or bacteria that make up what is known as the ‘Second Genome’ or the microbiome. In recent years, researchers have dived into the fascinating world of the second genome, discovering its profound effects on human health and well-being. As the leading manufacturers of filtered pipette tips, centrifuges, and temperature sensors we take pride in our ability to provide scientists the equipment they need to achieve new feats.
Below we will explore the concept of the second genome, its composition, and the impact it has on the human body. Let’s move further and uncover interesting facts about the second genome.
Understanding The Second Genome
The Second Genome refers to the collection of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes, that inhabit the human body. These microorganisms reside in various parts of the body, such as the gut, mouth, skin, and reproductive organs, forming a complex ecosystem.
A Brief History
The idea of the presence of a second genome in the human body was first generated in 1972. At that time, scientists believed that there was a ratio of 10:1 microbe to human cells in an average human body. Well, it means a human was composed of only 10% of their own cells. It came as a shocking discovery at that time and created multiple controversies too. However, according to recent research, the ratio is found to be closer to 1:1, or if we become more specific, about 57% of our body cells belong to the category of Second Genome.
How Is The Second Genome Different From The First Genome?
When we talk about the second genome, the very first question that arises in our minds is, is there a first genome too? If yes, how does it vary from the second genome? Well, yes, there is the first genome, too, and the key distinguishing factor between the two is the transfer of DNA. First genome results from the passing of DNA through generations. For instance, if your forefathers had brown eyes, there is a maximum probability of you having the same. DNA is stable and not likely to change unless the mutation occurs, which is also very rare.
On the other hand, the second genome can and does vary over time. The only time when the second microbe acts in a hereditary manner is during childbirth when the baby inherits a few microbes from their mother.
Composition Of The Second Genome
The gut microbiome is the most extensively studied. It comprises trillions of microorganisms, primarily bacteria, that reside in the intestinal tract. Other body sites, such as the skin, oral cavity, and vagina, also harbor distinct microbial communities, but mainly the term ‘Second Microbe’ refers to the microbes present in the gut.
The Impact Of The Second Genome On Human Health
Maintaining Gut Health
The second genome plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, and the synthesis of vitamins and other essential compounds. A balanced gut microbiome promotes a healthy immune system, reduces the risk of gastrointestinal disorders, and contributes to overall well-being.
Influence On Mental Health
Emerging research suggests a strong connection between the second genome and mental health. The genome produces various neurotransmitters and communicates with the central nervous system, influencing mood, behavior, and cognitive function. Moreover, imbalances in the second genome have been linked to conditions such as anxiety, neurodevelopmental disorders, and depression.
Impact On Immune Function
The second genome plays a crucial role in training and modulating the immune system. It interacts with immune cells, influencing their development, maturation, and response to pathogens. Alterations in the second genome composition have been associated with immune-related disorders, such as allergies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammation.
Metabolic Disorders And Obesity
The second genome affects energy extraction from food and regulates metabolism. People having an imbalance ratio of the second genome have been found to be linked to metabolic disorders, including obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Certain microbial species are associated with the extraction of energy from food, while others produce metabolites that can influence metabolism.
Immunity In Newborn Babies
Babies that are vaginally born inherit some of the second genomes from their mothers and thus have been observed to have higher immunity than the ones born via c-section. The second genome cells they inherit from their mothers train the immune system to deal with pathogens. That is why naturally born babies are less likely to develop asthma and allergies.
While we are observing multiple positive effects of the second genome in humans, there are some diverse effects too. If the concentration of the second genome in the gut becomes too high, it can become very harmful. For instance, certain bacteria from the Acamancia genus are quite helpful in digesting the fat, but Firmicutes, a phylum of bacteria, absorbs the fat. It means that people having high concentrations of this bacteria are likely to gain more weight. Therefore, we can say that second genomes are very beneficial if they are in a balanced ratio. A little imbalance can reverse the effect and cause multiple disorders too.
Overall, the second genome plays a crucial role in all areas of life, including digestion, the immune system, mental health, and many others. The key is balance- a diverse mix of microbes is preferable as all of them have diverse functions.
The ongoing research on the impact of the second genome is quite interesting and still has multiple discoveries to unfold. If you are interested in the second genome research, you must need a supply of microbiology lab essentials. The perfect place to get them at the best quality and affordable rates is MBP Inc. We have a wide range of Rainin LTS filter tips, Agitation equipment, Centrifuges, and all the other lab essentials that you will need for your research.