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 Metagenomics is a research teqhnique that is used to develop our understanding of the natural bacterial populations found in or on the human body (for exaple bacteria, fungi and archea) , often known as the human microbiome. This is done by obtaining a sample of microbes directly from the environment, for example: the mouth or skin, and researching in to the roles that they play in health and disease within the human body.

Following the competion of the Human Genome project, which involved the anaization of genes, this method allowed a different perspective when looking in to the organisms that play a part in disease. The current estimate of the total number of genes within the human genome is 20,000[1], however the total number of genes in the microbiome is one hundred times greater, giving rise to diversity. The main aim of the projects involved in the human microbiome is to understand these diverse organisms and how they can influence disease within humans.


  1. Karen E.Nelson et al. 2011. Metagenomics of the Human body. [online] page 8. Springer Newyork: Science+Business Media, LLC [Accessed on 23 November 2013] Available from

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