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It is often presented as common knowledge that, in the human body, bacteria outnumber human cells by a ratio of at least 10:1. Revisiting the question, we find that the ratio is much closer to 1:1.
Reported values in the literature on the number of cells in the body differ by orders of magnitude and are very seldom supported by any measurements or calculations. Here, we integrate the most up-to-date information on the number of human and bacterial cells in the body. We estimate the total number of bacteria in the 70 kg "reference man" to be 3.8·1013.… (More)
We critically revisit the "common knowledge" that bacteria outnumber human cells by a ratio of at least 10:1 in the human body. We found the total number of bacteria in the "reference man" to be 3.9·10 13 , with an uncertainty (SEM) of 25%, and a variation over the population (CV) of 52%. For human cells we identify the dominant role of the hematopoietic… (More)