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New public gut bacteria study expected to reach around world
Date:11/21/2012

ude cheaper than was possible only a few years ago, said Knight. Sequencing is now getting cheap enough -- participants who donate $99 or more can expect to get tens of thousands of sequences from microbes in their gut -- that participants can include their families and even their pets, Knight said.

Doctoral student Daniel McDonald is one of several CU-Boulder students who will be involved in the effort. "I am excited to have the opportunity to develop new computational tools in order to further explore this frontier," said McDonald, who is in the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology program at the BioFrontiers Institute.

"I am pleased to participate in this pioneering effort that marries the vast interest of the public in science with questions that are worth answering about human health and nutrition," said Martin Blaser, chair of the Department of Medicine and professor of microbiology at New York University. "Through this consortium, the technical and intellectual resources are there to lead to important new knowledge."

The project will seek to build on a growing canine and feline database as well. "The majority of data we currently have on the dog and cat microbiomes has come from a handful of small studies in research or clinically ill animals," said Associate Professor Kelly Swanson of the Department of Animal Sciences and Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "This study will apply the technology to free-living pets, where diet, genetics, and living environment are quite different from household to household.

"This research may identify important trends not possible with lab-based studies, and help guide us on how to feed our pets in the future," said Swanson.

The backdrop to the project is the radical decline in the cost of DNA sequencing, which allows analysis of microbial genomes orders of magnitude cheaper than was possible only a few years ago, and recent ad
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Contact: Rob Knight
rob.knight@colorado.edu
303-492-1984
University of Colorado at Boulder
Source:Eurekalert

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