The Holobiont

How do you think about yourself in biological terms?

Are you an animal of the mammalian kind? A primate capable of reasoning, worthy of the name Homo sapiens, aka human?

You might agree with me that you are all of these, but none of these terms recognises that part of us that is neither human, mammal or animal: our microbes.

If you want to include that invisible but essential part of you, think yourself as a holobiont. Never heard this word before? Me neither until I started researching to build this website. Here is a definition…

A host organism plus its associated microorganisms

Pretty simple. But also pretty general. By this definition every organism is a holobiont. In fact, the term has been historically used by scientists studying corals.

Anyway, it applies to us too and in this website I will show you why and how important it is that we embrace the holobiont concept to change how we view ourselves.

About this site

This website aims to explore the microbial part of us humans. The symbiotic relationship we have formed over the course of evolution and what happens when this goes wrong. To give you a glimpse, it can be synthesized in one line:

they cannot live without us and we cannot live without them

I focus on the interplay between diet, microbiome and epigenetics in humans, based on current scientific research.

The “diet” section is a sort of database with foods and drinks for which scientific research has found some link with the microbiota. This is for general public, whereas the “epigenetics” section needs a basic understanding of the subject. The “microbes” is the bridge between diet and epigenetics, although scientific knowledge is still limited on the effect of the microbiome at the molecular epigenetic level.