Saturday, 29 September 2018

Why do some microbes live in your gut while others don't?


Trillions of tiny microbes and bacteria live in your gut, each with their own set of genes. These gut microbes can have both beneficial and harmful effects on your health, from protecting you against inflammation to causing life-threatening infections. To keep out pathogens yet encourage the growth of beneficial microbes, scientists have been trying to find ways to target specific microbial genes.

A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS Computational Biology led by Patrick Bradley, a postdoctoral scholar in the Pollard lab, found a new approach to identify the genes that may be important to help microbes live successfully in the human gut.

New computational methods and DNA sequencing provide a solution to determine which microbes are usually present in a person's gut, and what genes are in the microbes' genomes. However, the researchers at Gladstone showed that just looking at the genes shared by gut microbes, without accounting for the microbes' common ancestry, can lead to many false discoveries.

See:

Patrick H. Bradley, Stephen Nayfach, Katherine S. Pollard. Phylogeny-corrected identification of microbial gene families relevant to human gut colonizationPLOS Computational Biology, 2018; 14 (8): e1006242 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006242

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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