Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I (strike that) We are an Ecosystem

We might not be amused, but we are not singular, according to Seed Magazine. We don't need to get all puffed up, though. We are full to the brim with critters. We are so profoundly filled with symbiotic bacteria that (who?) have jacked a ride with us that we are an ecosystem. A new area of medicine and biology has emerged to study the microbiome.

They are not simply random squatters, but organized communities that evolve with us and are passed down from generation to generation. Through research that has blurred the boundary between medical and environmental microbiology, we’re beginning to understand that because the human body constitutes their environment, these microbial communities have been forced to adapt to changes in our diets, health, and lifestyle choices. Yet they, in turn, are also part of our environments, and our bodies have adapted to them. Our dinner guests, it seems, have shaped the very path of human evolution.

Okay, get your Royals out and a brand new ribbon and start your stories. Here are some titles to get you started: We Are Not Alone, Aliens Within, The March of the Microbiome, Plan 9 from Inner Self, The Day My Spleen Stood Still, Close Encounters of the Bacterial Kind, Logan's Run to the Men's Room, Mary Shelley's Frankenmicrobiome, We Are Legend, Incredible Bacterial Hulk, Hellmicrobe, and my personal favorite, Soylent Green Bacteria.

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