Google+ Facebook Twitter Twitter

Under the microscope: GutFeelingKB

This month: GutFeelingKB

I had a gut feeling you would…

Let’s stop right there. This is important stuff. GutFeelingKB offers data about the different types of organisms present in a person’s gut as well as a comparison of their microbiome with other individuals.

Has it been in the news?

It certainly has. A research team led by George Washington University has crunched a lot of data to give an accurate census count of the bacteria residing there.  

I suddenly feel a little queasy…

Indeed. They found 157 different types of organisms (eight phyla, 18 classes, 23 orders, 38 families, 59 genera and 109 species) living inside the guts of healthy volunteers.

Who were these lucky souls?

Participants were mostly people on campus. They recorded what they ate and drank daily and complemented their food journals by providing faecal samples from which DNA was extracted.

Wouldn’t it have been more balanced to have taken some less than healthy volunteers?

It’s all about building a knowledge base. In their paper the scientists are saying that by looking at healthy people they should be able to establish a baseline about what a healthy gut microbiome should look like and how things change under different conditions.

But what good would all this do?

By determining what exactly is in your stomach it should ultimately improve public health. One thing they could use the data for is to understand how the bacterial population in the gut changes after antibiotic treatment. Perhaps, with probiotics, they could encourage the right bacteria to grow?

I think I’ve had a bellyful…

It might well benefit you one day as the information may serve as a reference list for doctors, patients and researchers.


Photo Credit | iStock

Related Articles

One-to-one: COVID response controvery

We hear from Professor Sunetra Gupta – the theoretical epidemiologist who believes in herd immunity and doesn’t believe in the lockdown.

"Three times risk for frontline healthcare workers"

Frontline healthcare workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) have a three-fold increased risk of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test, compared with the public.

Screening to improve mAb-based drugs

By screening potential monoclonal antibody (mAb)-based drugs solely on a measure of their colloidal stability, scientists may be able to weed out mAbs that do not respond efficiently in solution early in the drug discovery process, according to a new study.