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Scientists begin census of microbes: the trillions that live in or on us

Scientists are beginning a large-scale effort to identify and analyze the vast majority of cells in or on your body that aren't of human origin.

Only about 10 percent of the trillions of cells that make up a person are truly human, researchers say. The other 90 percent are bacteria, viruses and other microbes swarming in your gut and on your skin.

"We really are a superorganism," Brett Finlay, a microbiologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said in an e-mail. "From the moment we are born until we die, we live in a symbiotic relationship with our microbes."
 
 

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