About the episode
Our microbiome, or gut flora, is made up of hundreds of different bacteria. And the composition is much less random than previously thought.
We know that the microbiome can vary between individuals, but also between populations. This is why researchers have been curious about whether our gut flora might say something about how we ourselves evolved. Did things go a little together? Have they changed with us?
To find out, scientists from 1,225 individuals from Europe, Asia and Africa studied their genes as well as the genes of the bacterial colony in their digestive systems. They saw similarities with their host’s ancestral history in at least 60 species of bacteria.
What they also saw was that the bacterial species in which this association was strongest had evolved special characteristics. Such as smaller genomes, intolerance to oxygen and certain temperatures. This indicates that these bacteria are becoming more dependent on their host.
When looking at healing from or through the microbiome, researchers say it’s important to include the common evolutionary history of us and our creatures.
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