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More than just bacteria: The importance of microbial diversity in gut health and disease
Date:3/9/2014

(March 10, 2014) The gut microbiota contains a vast number of microorganisms from all three domains of life, including bacteria, archaea and fungi, as well as viruses. These interact in a complex way to contribute towards both health and the development of disease interactions that are only now being elucidated thanks to the application of advanced DNA sequencing technology in this field.

"Using novel metagenomic approaches, scientists are at last beginning to characterize the taxonomic abundance and community relationships not only of bacteria, but also the other microbes that inhabit the gut environment,"1 says Professor Gary Wu, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. "This exciting work is bringing us one step closer to understanding the importance of microbial diversity in intestinal health and disease and could ultimately lead to new ways of diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal (GI) disease."

His talk was one of the topics presented at the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit in Miami, FL, USA. On March 8-9, 2014, internationally leading experts discussed the latest advances in gut microbiota research and its impact on health.

The microorganisms that inhabit the gut can be broadly divided into prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea), bacteriophages (viruses that infect prokaryotes), eukaryotic viruses, and the meiofauna (microscopically small benthic invertebrates that live in both marine and fresh water environments primarily fungi and protozoa).1 Of these, bacteria have been the most extensively studied. The gastrointestinal tract is now considered one of the most complex microbial ecosystems on earth and understanding how the multiple communities interact presents both opportunities and challenges.

"We have known for some time that the bacteria in the gut play an important role in both health and disease," says Prof. Wu. "It is also now becoming clear that the non-bacterial microbiota interacts in
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Contact: Aimee Frank
afrank@gastro.org
301-941-2620
American Gastroenterological Association
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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