MicrobeWorld App

appsquarebannerad200x200

Join MicrobeWorld

Subscribe via Email

subscribe

Microbes After Hours

MW-Site-Banner-200x200

Click for more "Microbes After Hours" videos

Featured Image

Featured Video

Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

Supporters

ASM House 200X200

Your Appendix Could Save Your Life

You may have heard that the appendix is a relic of our past, like the hind leg bones of a whale. Bill Parker, a professor of surgery at the Duke University School of Medicine, heard that, too; he just disagrees. Parker thinks the appendix serves as a “nature reserve” for beneficial bacteria in our gut. When we get a severe gut infection such as cholera (which happened often during much of our history and is common in many regions even today), the bene­ficial bacteria in our gut are depleted. The appendix allows them to be re­stored. In essence, Parker sees the appendix as a sanctuary for our tiny mutualist friends, a place where there is always room at the inn.

Parker’s hypothesis, which he and collaborators first published in 2007 in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, is a fundamentally new idea about how an organ in our body works. A paper published last December provides new data to back up the theory.
 
 

Comments (0)

Collections (0)

 

American Society for Microbiology
2012 1752 N Street, N.W. • Washington, DC 20036-2904 • (202) 737-3600
American Society For Microbiology © 2014   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms of Use