Gut bacteria often similar in humans and chimps, study finds

Gut bacteria often similar in humans, chimps: study
Microbial groups may have played role in evolution, researchers say.
(HealthDay)—Humans and chimpanzees have much in common, biologically speaking, and that may now include certain communities—or ecosystems—of gut bacteria, a new study finds.

Gut bacteria play a crucial role in collecting nutrients from food, helping the immune system and protecting people against disease-causing viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.

Yale University researchers have been investigating why gut bacteria organize themselves into three distinct communities called enterotypes. Each person seems to have one of the three enterotypes in their gut, but some scientists have suggested that enterotypes may merely be the product of different types of diets.

However, this new study found that chimpanzees in Gombe National Park in Tanzania have the same three enterotypes as humans, which indicates that enterotypes may have played an important evolutionary role in humans and great apes, the Yale team said.

In addition, samples taken from individual throughout their lives revealed that enterotypes change over a 's lifetime, the investigators found.

"This shared [human and chimpanzee] organization of the gut microbial community is millions of years old and the findings attest to their functional importance," Howard Ochman, an author of the study and director of the Institute, said in a Yale news release.

"Now that we know enterotypes have been maintained over evolutionary timescales, our goal is to determine their functions and how they might be important to the health of their hosts," Ochman said.

The study was published Nov. 13 in the journal Nature Communications.


Explore further

You are not what you eat

More information: The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about the bacterial makeup of the body.
Journal information: Nature Communications

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: Gut bacteria often similar in humans and chimps, study finds (2012, November 13) retrieved 23 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-11-gut-bacteria-similar-humans-chimps.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Nov 13, 2012
Should be good for drug discovery of antibiotics and its side effects of the stomachs flora and workings

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more