Questions have been answered about the complex array of bacteria that live in and on our bodies, one of the most exciting and expansive new fields of biology.

Several experts have released an FAQ to help anyone else catch up on knowledge of the ever-growing world in the human microbiome.

Recent findings have shown a number of important links between humans and their bacterial stowaways, and as science continues to explore and understand the role of the human microbiome, a new report from the American Academy of Microbiology addresses some of the most common questions about this burgeoning area of research.

The report, entitled 'FAQ: Human Microbiome', is comprised from presentations from thirteen experts from institutions in the United States.

The scientific stance on the role of the microorganisms has grown with the advance of DNA sequencing technologies and other molecular techniques. New approaches have shown that humans are not only carrying a diverse array of microscopic passengers, but that our tiny friends have evolved along with us over millions of years.

Scientists now recognise that the microbiome may be responsible for a broad variety of metabolic and developmental processes, from food digestion to vitamin synthesis and even brain function.

“The American Academy of Microbiology has produced a creative and informative resource on the human microbiome for a wide audience which describes the beauty and complexity of the human microbiome, the insults we may be causing our microbiomes as a result of common practices in our modern societies, why we now need to include the microbiome when considering human health, and the future research directions for this emerging field which combines medicine, ecology and evolution,” says Lita Proctor of the National Human Genome Research Institute, a leading member of the committee behind the report.

FAQ: Human Microbiome is the latest in a series of reports designed to provide a quick response to emerging issues and highlight the role of microbes in daily life. Previous FAQ reports have covered topics like the role of microorganisms in cleaning up oil spills and the central role of yeast in the production of beer.

A copy of the latest report can be found here.