by Viktor BONDARENKO, Dr. Sc. (Medicine), Head of the Laboratory of Bacterial Virulence Genetics, N.F. Gamaleya Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (RAMS)
The total gene pool of the microflora (now known as "microbiome") present in our organism numbers 400,000 genes, or twelve times the size of the human genome. A large population like this predetermines the colossal functional activity of microorganisms implicated in many physiological and immune responses protecting the organism against diseases, infections including.
Microbes have always been part and parcel of the human environment. They were the primordial forms of life on earth that have subsequently survived in all stages of biological evolution. Their fitness and fast adaptation to unfavorable environmental conditions is due in many ways to their vast numbers, the diversity and high dynamics of their populations, their high fertility and genetic information transmission rates as well as selection efficiency. But the fitness of microorganism is not infinite at all. The ongoing global pollution of the environment may result in the death of the symbiotic microflora in bodies of water, air and soil. In some of this country's ecologically endangered regions this factor is having an adverse effect on people's health*-fust and foremost, it jeopardizes the normal microflora and immune defenses of the human organism. All that compels scientists to attach greater attention in studying
* See: L. Leontiev, "Ecological Problem of Norilsk: Ways of Solution", Science in Russia, No. 5, 2006. - Ed.
related dysfunctions and pathologies and in mapping out prevention and correction strategies.
Now what is the normal microflora? From a biological standpoint it involves a totality of biocenoses - in our case microbial communities populating the biotopes* of the open cavities of the host organism. Microorg ... Read more