How Are You – and How’s Your Microbiome?
Exploration of the human body’s ‘second genome’ could transform health and medicine – and robust analytical methodologies are key.
Pratik Jagtap |
Microbes are everywhere. They are present in our gut, on our skin, in our oral cavity – and we may even carry a ‘bacterial plume’ around us. Our microbiota (the term used to describe the plethora of species present in an ecosystem) does more than just reside in our body, responding to changes within as we mature; recent studies have shown that the compositional balance of the microbiota and its expressed genes – the ‘microbiome’ – has a significant effect on health and well-being of the individual. Many pathological conditions, including allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, immunological disorders, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease as well as mental health conditions, are influenced by the microbiome. Researchers describe the microbiome as the ‘second genome’ of the body – and there is potential to manipulate it to address disease states.
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