Microbes Annihilate the "Nature vs. Nurture" Debate

Christine Gorman

Most E. coli bacteria found in the body are harmless

The is taking to a whole new level the old (and not always fruitful) argument about whether nature or nurture is a more important influence in our lives.

In the past few days, Science Express published a paper that demonstrated that friendly (or ) bacteria don’t just passively crowd out the disease-causing ones. (Of course, the bacteria don’t “know” what they’re doing in any sense of the word. It’s just that the ones who are successful at doing it survive.)

Similarly, Nature recently published an article that detailed how . (Whether that difference has any deleterious health effects and why is another story.)

The point is that the microbes that live inside, on and around us all ultimately come from the environment. And . In fact, in many cases, the genes found in these microbes allow us to do something like digest the fiber in oranges that our own genes cannot.

The old dichotomy of nature vs. nurture is meaningless when what we think of as our nature namely the genes that make us who we are can come from our parents or our microbes.

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