There are unexplored planets in our Solar System GÇô strange worlds of bizarre creatures locked in a fight for survival. These unknown worlds are you and me. Each one of us is a walking ecosystem teeming with a wide variety of life forms in their trillions. These microbes have shaped our evolution and changed the course of human history. All of these microscopic residents determine our health, our life expectancy, our physique and even our behaviour. Our hidden worlds will be illuminated by revolutionary special effects that combine world-first moving image electron microscopy with super-macro filming techniques, making the invisible, visible. This two-part series is packed with a rollercoaster of emotions, drama, awe, surprise and cutting edge science to challenge the very notion of who we are. We are born 100% human, but will die 90% microbial. Between these bookends of our lives, lies the unmapped terrain of LIFE ON US. Episode 1 - Your Private Wildlife We are not alone. We are home to a trillion cells that are not our own, but are very much the making of us. Both on us and inside us live bacteria, viruses, protozoans, fungi, worms, lice and mites that we carry throughout our lives. To say that we are in a minority in our own body is an understatement. Our GÇÿprivate wildlifeGÇÖ keeps us healthy, sometimes makes us ill and even changes our behaviour. Our journey of discovery through the natural history of bugs begins with the skin. We are all covered in resident bacteria providing our first line of defence against invading pathogens. Even before our immune system is activated, this protective layer of bacteria will fight off alien species. But if the skin is compromised, these invaders can threaten our lives. Episode 2- Superhuman Our health, body shape, mood and even our evolution are determined by the unseen life forms that swarm throughout our bodies. There are worms in your bowels, bacteria in your mouth, fungi in your lungs and even viruses in your DNA. The combined genetic information of all these bugs is more than 150 times greater than our own genes. Their cells outnumber our own by 10 to 1. This collective menagerie is called the microbiome, and in a very real sense, it is the making of us all. Though they have evolved with us over millennia, in recent years we have been drastically changing our relationship with our internal microbes, bombing them with antibiotics and an unhealthy diet. The consequence of this war on our bugs is an epidemic of disease. This episode looks at the battleground within our bodies and the remarkable new science that is changing our views about health and disease.
Life on Us
How we are all shared, shaped and kept alive by the bugs that live on us and inside us