Aggregated News

After spending months working on a series of stories about the trillions of friendly microbes that live in and on our bodies, I decided it might be interesting to explore my own microbiome.

So I pulled out my credit card and paid the $99 needed to sign up for the American Gut Project, one of a couple of "citizen science" or crowdsourced microbiome projects.

Organizers of the American Gut Project are recruiting thousands of people to donate their microbes to science — along with lots of personal information — to help researchers learn more about the trillions of microbes that inhabit the human body.

"The fact that they may play a big role in your susceptibility to disease and health is profound. I mean, it's astounding," says Jeff Leach, who helped dream up the American Gut Project. "It changes everything. I think it's a watershed moment for human health."

(To give us a glimpse of that hidden universe and its impact on health, we asked artist Ben Arthur to create an animated video of the human microbiome.)