Thursday, 27 October 2016

The microbiome and evolution

Biotechniques have an interesting article about the gut microbiome, the Human Microbiome Project and the role that the microbiome plays in human evolution.

Here is an extract:

“Scientists have unearthed the fact that drastic differences in microbiomes can be inherited and that they can irreversibly meddle with metabolic processes. The high-fat, high-salt diet that characterizes the economic West and the overuse of antibiotics around the world have reshaped our microbiota.

If this recent divergence in our microbiomes has significantly contributed to the alarming increase in incidence of chronic diseases such as Crohn’s disease and type 2 diabetes, Justin Sonnenburg, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford predicts that it will inevitably affect our evolution. “If you were to go thousands of years into the future, I would guess that you would see that there will be a [genetic] bottleneck, and you’ll lose some of the pro-inflammatory alleles just because kids that are getting childhood Crohn’s disease for instance are going to be less reproductively fit.”

Here are some related academic papers of interest:
Round JL, Mazmanian SK. The gut microbiome shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. 2009. Nat Rev Immunol. 9(5): 313– 323.
Lim ES, Wang D, Holtz LR. The Bacterial Microbiome and Virome Milestones of Infant Development. The Bacterial Microbiome and Virome Milestones of Infant Development. 2016. Trends Microbiol. pii: S0966-842X(16)30064-6
Sonnenburg JL, Bäckhed F. Diet–microbiota interactions as moderators of human metabolism. 2016. Nature. 535(7610):56-64.
Diaz Heijtz R et al. Normal gut microbiota modulates brain development and behavior. 2011. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108(7):3047-52.
Moeller AH et al. Cospeciation of gut microbiota with hominids. 2016. Science. 353(6297): 380-2.
De Filippo C et al. Impact of diet in shaping gut microbiota revealed by a comparative study in children from Europe and rural Africa. 2010. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 107(33):14691-6

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle