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2050

Biodiversity loss could be making us sick – here’s why

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The inner ecosystem — Our gut, skin and airways harbor distinct microbiomes – vast networks of microbes that exist in different environments.

By 2050, is expected to live in towns and cities. Urban living brings many benefits, but city dwellers worldwide are seeing a in non-communicable health problems, such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

Some scientists now think this is linked to – the ongoing depletion of the varied forms of life on Earth. The rate at which different species go extinct is currently a thousand times higher than the .

Microbial diversity is a large part of the biodiversity that is being lost. And these microbes – bacteria, viruses and fungi, among others – are for maintaining healthy ecosystems. Because humans are a part of these ecosystems, our health also suffers when they vanish, or when barriers reduce our exposure to them.

The inner ecosystem — Our gut, skin and airways harbor distinct microbiomes – vast networks of microbes that exist in different environments. The human gut alone harbors up to , which outnumbers our own human cells. Our microbes provide services that are integral to our survival, such as processing food and providing chemicals that .

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