Why microbes matter: A TED-Ed Lesson and TED Talk pairing


Your body is made up of 10 trillion human cells. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, when compared to the 100 trillion microbial cells that are in and on your body, that number looks surprisingly small. And though microbes often get a bad rap because of their associations with various diseases, recent research points to the fact that these organisms could actually be playing quite a big role in keeping us healthy. In this TED-Ed blog series, we pair short, informative TED-Ed Lessons with longer, more in-depth TED Talks on the same subject. Today, let’s meet your microbes.

Get acquainted with these micro-organisms first by watching this short TED-Ed Lesson ‘You are your microbes.’ In this lesson, Jessica Green and Karen Guillemin emphasize the importance of understanding the many organisms that make up each and every organism.

Rob Knight is a pioneer in studying human microbes, which he says have a huge — and largely unexplored — role in our health. “The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome,” he says. Find out why in this TED Talk ‘How our microbes make us who we are.’

Want extra credit? Pre-order Rob Knight’s TED Book Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes which will launch April 7, 2015! >>


  1. Iris Anderson

    My twin sister and I have just returned from London having taken party in the microbiome study being conducted by Twinsuk. Your Ted-ed post and lecture was very timely and informative, and I now have a better understanding of the importance of mictobiomes and the project in which we’ve played our part. Thanks

  2. Great post and wonderful information about why microbes matter. Thanks for sharing!

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