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10,000 germ species live in and on healthy people

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LAURAN NEERGAARD
AP Medical Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut. If you collected all the bacteria and other microbes you have, they could weigh, amazingly, a few pounds.

Now scientists have mapped which critters normally live in or on us and where. They've calculated that healthy people share their bodies with more than 10,000 species of microbes.

Don't say "eeew" yet. Many of these organisms work to keep humans healthy. Results reported Wednesday from the government's Human Microbiome Project define what's normal in this mysterious netherworld.

Next they'll explore what doctors really want to know: Why do bad bugs harm some people and not others?

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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