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Human Microbiome

Human Microbiome

The human microbiome is all of the genetic material found within microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and mites that exist within and on the human body. These microbe communities vary from one part of the body to another and from one person to the next. Studies of the microbiome have led to insights on diabetes, obesity, and other disorders.

Materials for Human Microbiome


Ted Ed Animation - You Are Your Microbes

Description: In this four-minute animation demo from Ted Ed, Jessica Green and Karen Guillemin explain that we are home to millions of unique and diverse communities of bacteria that help our bodies function. The importance of understanding the many organisms that make up each and every organism is emphasized. Complete with five multiple choice questions.


Microbiome - Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

Description: Listen as researcher Julie Segre describes microbiome. Explore the glossary to understand terms and concepts used in genetic research.

We Are Never Alone - Living with the Human Microbiota

Description: This engaging and well-illustrated article introduces core concepts of the microbiome and human health. It was written by scientists and reviewed for younger audiences by kids.

We Are What We Eat - True for Bacteria Too

Description: This engaging and well-illustrated article on microbiome was written by scientists and reviewed for younger audiences by kids. Learn the role of bacteria in our guts, how bacteria grow, and how processed foods affect bacterial growth.


What Do You Know About the Human Microbiome?

Description: Test your knowledge about the microbes that live in and on us in the 10 question quiz.

Interactive Tutorials

Resources for Teaching the Microbiome

Description: Many medical breakthroughs have been enabled by genomics. Explore an assortment of 10 engaging resources on the human microbiome in this interactive. Learn how your microbiome contributes to your health.

Teacher Resources

Human Microbiome (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: The Introduction to the Microbiome Guide for Teachers lets students explore the human microbiome through scientific articles, in-depth and hands-on activities, and by answering thought-provoking questions.

Internet-Based Tools for Teaching the Microbiome

Description: Explore over a dozen resources made-for-teachers-by-teachers. The list was compiled during an annual short course for genetics teachers at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Microbe Motels - An Interactive Method to Introduce the Human Microbiome (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This hands-on activity introduces the concept of the microbiome to young audiences and is good for the elementary classroom or science festival. Kids are introduced to the four main types (phyla) of bacteria inhabiting the human gut and learn that that a balance between these types is required for digestive health. They create a model of the contents of the gut using flour, paint, cereal, and water and discuss the ideal balance of these ingredients.

Modeling the Dynamic Digestive System Microbiome (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: This hands-on exercise enables students to model the microbial ecosystem in the human gut, investigate concepts such as niche availability, and explore the role of diet, environment, and antibiotic use in human microbiomes.

Mostly Microbes (Lesson Plans/Lesson Activities)

Description: Explore a collection of four different activities to help K-12 and undergraduate educators teach students about the importance of the human microbiome.


Ted Talk - How Our Microbes Make Us Who We Are

Description: In this 18 minute video, researcher Rob Knight explains the importance of the microbiome, the community of tiny single-cell organisms living inside and on our bodies that have a huge and largely unexplored role in our health.