Shot through with microbes: How our bodies adapt to a hidden world of bacteria
Heredity cannot always be explained by the DNA that makes up our chromosomes. In a new piece, STAT contributor Carl Zimmer investigates how the DNA contained in the trillions of bacterial cells on and inside us affects human health, aiding in our immune responses and helping newborns break down milk into vital vitamins. He also explains how the genes in our mitochondria, the result of a bacterial invasion into our ancestors’ cells 1.8 billion years ago, can go awry, introducing mutations that cause hereditary diseases. Read more here. The piece is an excerpt from “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh,” Carl’s new book all about heredity. It’s out now.