Study maps gut microflora

Feb. 6, 2008 at 10:24 AM
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LONDON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A British-Chinese study has mapped the bacteria living in seven members of a Chinese family to determine the role of gut microbes in bodily processes.

The researchers from Imperial College London and China's Jiao Tong University said the makeup of each person's gut microflora influences their health, with abnormalities in gut microbes linked to diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

However, the relationship between different species of bacteria and different processes has previously been defined only at a broad level, the scientists said, noting that prior to their study, only five people had had their gut microflora profiled in depth, with that data being published.

"Now we have developed a new way of exploring the connections between bugs and man we can hope to find a 'Rosetta Stone' to translate the functional properties of the bugs and so improve therapies to treat disorders of the gut and related conditions," said Imperial College London Professor Jeremy Nicholson, lead author of the study.

The research, led by Professor Liping Zhao of Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

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