First 178 of countless bacteria that live inside every person that team plans to sequence
THURSDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- A large-scale effort to map out the genetic composition of hundreds of microorganisms that inhabit every human has produced its first results: scientists report they have completed the genome sequencing for an initial batch of 178 human-hosted bacteria.
Found in such places as the gastrointestinal tract, skin, mouth, uro-genital tract and respiratory tract, microbes such as the ones now sequenced are believed to play a central but as yet poorly understood role in daily human function, particularly with respect to the maintenance of health and onset of disease.
"This is just the beginning," said study author Karen E. Nelson, director of the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md. "There's a lot of micro-diversity exclusive to our body, and we do not yet have comprehensive understanding of how these microbes interact with our bodies. So this is just the start of this exploration."
"But I'm very encouraged," Nelson added. "Because over the past five to 10 years, we've begun to realize how significant the microbes are that live on and in us. They're clearly associated with health and disease. And some of the major diseases are associated with good bugs that go bad. Cavities, cancers, gastric tract disease, skin diseases, acne -- a lot of everyday conditions that we deal with if we can get a better understanding of how it all works."
The study, funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was published in the May 21 issue of Science.
The current gene-mapping milestone joins other recent cutting-edge efforts, including the work of Chinese scientists who in the March issue of Nature announced the successful sequencing of 3.3 million genes from organisms living in the human gut. Taken together, such steps aim to unravel the intricate connections be
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