Almost 2,000 varieties of previously unknown gut bacteria have been discovered in the human digestive tract, according to a new study. The results were made by researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute, where the team identified nearly 2,000 varieties using calculation methods. These newly identified intestinal bacteria are not grown in a laboratory at this time.
Human gut bacteria are a mystery that is still unraveling. An increasing number of studies have bound gut bacteria with a number of health benefits and potential health consequences, these colonies being shaped by things like antibiotic use and one's diet. Scientists still have a lot to learn about the intestinal microbiota, including which strains exist in it.
According to a study published in Nature, scientists used calculation methods to analyze samples taken from humans across the globe. These tools enabled the researchers to determine which bacterial species are present without growing them in the laboratory.
The work could in one day lead to something like a "blueprint" of human intestinal bacteria, but there is still work to be done. According to the researchers, the intestinal bacteria are different from all over the world, and there is still a lack of appropriate tests outside of European and North American populations. Talking about it was EMBL-EBI Group leader Rob Finn, who said:
We see a lot of the same bacterial species caught in data from European and North American populations. But the few South American and African datasets we had access to this study showed a significant diversity that was not present in the former populations. This suggests that collecting data from under-represented populations is crucial if we want to achieve a truly comprehensive picture of the human intestinal composition.