Roche: Nature Study Uses 454 Sequencing to Reveal Surprising New Clues into the Role of Microbial Communities in the Human Gut

BRANFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--454 Life Sciences, a Roche company, today announced that a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have characterized the human gut microbiome by sequencing the microbial communities of adult twins and their mothers with the Genome Sequencer FLX System. The work is part of the International Human Microbiome Project, an initiative to define the role and structure of microbial communities within the human body. Surprisingly, the study invalidated the hypothesis that a uniform human gut microbiome exists at the level of bacterial species. Instead, the results demonstrate that common metabolic functions yield a gut microbiome that is carried out by communities varying greatly in exact species composition across individuals. When comparing lean and obese twins, the researchers found further that deviations from this core functional microbiome were associated with the differences in physiologic states. The study, titled “A core gut microbiome in obese and lean twins,” appears online in the November 30th issue of Nature.

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