Regaining our humanity
A manuscript posted in bioRxiv suggests that we need to rethink the often used maxim that there are 10 times more bacteria in and on our bodies than our own cells
I'll admit it - I have been guilty of using some eye-catching numbers to hook readers interest in microbiology. I even penned an editorial collating some of them here, back in my Nature Reviews days.
Now it turns out that one of the more commonly cited of these amazing stats is likely to be way off - we are not, it seems 10 times more bacteria that human (and certainly not after a trip to the bathroom). Cue thousands of people quietly disposing of T-shirts, mugs and other paraphernalia bearing this slogan.
I suspect that quite a few of the other numbers in that editorial are going to have to be cast away in the future as more myth-busting takes place. I still think such stats serve a purpose though in capturing the attention of the general audience to just how amazing (and fundamentally important) microbiology can be.