Thursday, December 13, 2018

New publication on the ethnicity hypothesis for gut microbiome variation

Our latest research published at PLOS Biology last week answers the question of whether self-declared ethnicity significantly associates with the diversity of microbes in human gut microbiomes, particularly from individuals residing in the same country. Importantly, results are replicated across two datasets within the United States of America, and we identify 12 microbial taxa that consistently vary in abundance between ethnicities. Machine learning approaches were able to predict ethnicity from the gut microbiome data alone. Many of the 12 taxa also associate with human genotype variation, and some have been linked to gut health disparities. While the work remains to be replicated in larger datasets, this one is a small step towards potentially adding the microbiome into more personalized health and medicine approaches. The work was led by senior graduate student Andy Brooks and was conducted in collaboration with the Blekhman lab at the University of Minnesota.


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