there are billions of years
of biological information
encoded within your cells,
and that depending on what you do
or do not eat,
the information is activated
In fact, each cell in your body, along with all the cells in all living creatures on the planet today, derive from a last universal common ancestor (LUCA) estimated to have lived some 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago in the primordial ocean.
The germline cells within our bodies (sperm and ovum) represent a quasi-immortal and unbroken biological thread tying us all back, through an almost infinite number of cell replications, to LUCA.
These germline cells represent, against all odds, the resilience of biological systems to persist through incalculably vast stretches of time and innumerable vectors of adversity.
They are "deathless"
relative to somatic cells in that their biological information has
been passed down from generation to generation for billions of years
without interruption, and that will continue to be passed forward
within the successfully conceived progeny of all the species
inhabiting this planet today.
And so, biological entities are unique insofar as they inhabit the present while containing within themselves information stretching so far back in the distant past as to approach geologic time scales.
Constituted by at least 10 times more bacterial, viral, and fungal cells than actual human cells, we are more accurately described (at least in biological terms) as,
Perhaps even more profound is the fact that the total genetic information in our bodies is about 99% microbial in origin, with many of these microbes performing life-sustaining functions for digestion, immunity, and even cognition.
Even when explore only the "private" genetic contribution of our cells, we find that the human genome is about 10% viral (retroviral) in origin, and that "our" mitochondria are actually "alien" in origin:
What we eat or expose ourselves chemically, for instance, not only becomes of crucial significance in determining the state of our health and disease risk, but to our very identity.
This information is beginning to affect the way we look at ourselves as a species in evolutionary terms.
In fact, the hologenome theory of evolution states that we are a "holobiont," a host whose fate is and always was inseparably bound to all its symbiotic microbes.
As with classical evolutionary theory on our how genes evolve, selective pressures from the environment have shaped the types and numbers of microbes that now form the basis for both our health and disease susceptibility.
And what are some of the most important "selective pressures" that have gone into creating our holobiont selves over the course of unimaginably vast swaths of time?
and cultural ones, of course...
...this was true not only in molecular terms, i.e. the food we eat produces molecular building blocks from which our bodies are constructed, but also in microbial terms, but the microbes we expose ourselves to and cultivate through nutrition affect and/or permanently alter our holobiont selves.
Which leads us to the topic of honey and "microbial time travel."
According to one researcher, Alyssa Crittendeyn, PhD, honey helped make us human:
So, while our ancestors
may have consumed honey, what does it have to do with our microbial
These bacteria have been identified as indispensable to the immunity of the individuals and the hive as a whole, as well as in affecting the behavior of the different types of bees that inhabit these complex colonies.
Considering the possibility of our ancient co-evolutionary relationship with honey,
There is no doubt that in a day and age where the previously timeless and unbroken chain of microbial custody between vaginally birthed and exclusively breastfed offspring has been profoundly disrupted, our inner microbial terrain has become completely ravaged.
Add to this the daily barrage of food-like but synthetic dietary inputs, along with a battery of antimicrobial toxicants unleashed by the industrial revolution and now festering in the post-industrial chemical soup we are all now immersed in, the intimate link between the human and microbial sides of the holobiont's multiplicitous identity has all but become irreparably severed.
Titled, "Symbionts as major Modulators of Insect Health - Lactic Acid Bacteria and Honeybees", it characterized the diverse and ancient lactic acid bacteria populations of microbiota within the honey crop of honeybees and related species.
This means that honeybees and their honey may contain bacteria that humans may have maintained contact with and ingested throughout the entire course of their evolution as foragers of honey, which would also include our pre-human predecessors.
Within the confines of
their bodies, these insects may have provided an environment for
these ancient symbiotic bacteria to survive intact for millions of
years, enabling animals (like humans) to periodically replenish
their microbiomes through consuming bee products like honey infused
For those whose microbial
heritage has been decimated and/or supplanted with
genetically altered (via
recombinant or chemical induction) food stuffs, eating real
wild-harvested raw honey, might re-infuse the body with information
and microbes that not only have important health-promoting but are
indispensable for the informational integrity of our species
Technically, everything we eat (or do not eat) will affect the trajectory of our health, both individually, and as a species.
For example, the present agricultural system carpet-bombs monocultured land with biocides often destroying the profound microbial biodiversity vital to gene-regulatory information and proxy physiological capabilities, i.e. the production of enzymes and anti-microbial factors that our genome itself does not possess.
This is why seeming "superstitious" farming practices such as taking wild-soil (from old growth systems) and using it as inoculant in newer farming land may be so effective at producing vitally nourishing food.
These old-growth microbial communities, perhaps a byproduct of millions of years of co-evolution, are capable of contributing a wide range of biotransformed soil metabolites for the plant's nutritional needs, as well as infusing the edible plants themselves with strains of,
This bridge can be
visualized both "spatially" as a physiological bridge which connects
our bodies via microbes directly to the Earth, forming an
inseparable whole (the
holobiont) and temporally, by bridging the gap between
the present and the ancient past.