Saturday , June 19 2021

The world in us: scientists discover 1952 new bacteria in the human gut

Artistic illustration of intestinal bacteria.

An international team of scientists discovered 1952 new bacterial species in the gut flora of the human body, according to the report published in natureOver one quarter of these belong to unknown families and almost half to unknown genera.

In recent years, studies have shown how the intestinal microbe affects the immune system, regulates brain function, and even influences the individual's psyche and behavior. In turn, the "irregular" composition of the intestinal microflora is associated with diseases such as hypertension, stroke, and slowing down the development of children. However, said composition remains a little known subject.

Now British, Australian, and Canadian researchers, led by Robert Flynn of the European Bioinformatics Institute, have reconstructed more than 92,000 genomes from the gut microbiotics of 11,850 people, mostly from Europe and North America.

The authors perform a metagenome analysis that allows the study of microbial communities present in different environments or organisms without isolation of certain types of bacteria, viruses or fungi. Thus, they were able to collect bacterial genomes and sequences of intestinal microflora and then compare them with already known sequences available at the National Institutes of Health database (knowing the DNA sequence in one gene or another, the sequence may be determined on the protein that encodes).

Of the 11.9 thousand genomes identified, scientists selected those whose sequences were collected in more than half. They also tested the compatibility of genomes with known bacterial taxa. A total of 1952 genomes were selected.

The healing of bacteria

Researchers were able to attribute more than 90% of genomes to a particular type, class and line of bacteria. But more than a quarter of them (26%) belong to unknown families and 40% to unknown genres. Bacteria that have been classified are more often included in the family coriobacterias (Coriobacteriaceae, 20.6%) and genera colinzell (17.7%) and clostridia (7.3%).

The authors also find in DNA sequences genes associated with the synthesis of bacteriocins (a protein toxin that inhibits the growth of similar bacteria or related strains) and non-ribosomal peptides. The hypothesis is that these bacteria synthesize antibacterial substances or potentially useful substances in biotechnology.

Knowing the microbial in the intestine can lead to applications that you have never thought of. As an example, researchers have suggested developing nutritional supplements from the gut flora of marathons; or even the identification of criminals due to the composition of the microbial signature of each individual.

Sofia Dotori
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