Two new studies — the American Gut Project and uBiome — are trying to help define the role of microbes in human guts.
The studies hope to get more than 10,000 people to have their intestinal microbes examined, reports The Associated Press. The researchers will use the samples and information about the donor’s lifestyle and habits to look at how each person’s bacteria function and change based on their behavior.
Donors will need to submit a stool sample and a fee — which starts at $69 — to take part. They will then get a report on what their internal environment is like and whether healthy or unhealthy microbes are working inside their gut. Researchers hope that the information that the donors will use the information to make healthier choices.
Microbes, which are present in human intestines in the trillions, are usually very helpful to their hosts. The microbes can aid digestion or increase the effectiveness of our immune system. However, some are harmful and can bring about such disorders as irritable bowel syndrome and even diabetes and obesity.
Microbiologist Jack Gilbert, of the American Gut Project, told AP, “We’re finally enabling people to realize the power and value of bacteria in their lives.”
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