Intro Reading04.docx - Brigham Young University Idaho Bio...

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Brigham Young University – Idaho Bio 180 Lab Lab 5: Microbiome I Activity 1. Before coming to your assigned lab period please read the essay below on the gut microbiome. It will serve as an introduction to our laboratory activities. Does the gut microbiome hold clues to obesity and diabetes? Current Biology Vol 23 No 9 Pg R360-362 As high-throughput genome sequencing technology now enables researchers to study the microbiota in our digestive system both in breadth and in detail, the hope is that mysteries of common problems, including obesity and diabetes, will finally be solved. Michael Gross reports . In antiquity, soothsayers used to inspect the entrails of animals, specifically the liver and Intestines, to derive information about people’s fates. One famous example of the practice resulted in the warning to Julius Caesar to “beware the Ides of March”. Modern times have been quick to dismiss this procedure, known as extispicy, which was widespread from the Hittites through to the Etruscans and Romans, as pure superstition. Now that we have learned to decipher DNA sequences, the fate of each living thing and each person (apart from unpredictable external influences) is surely to be read from their genomes. Accordingly, researchers have studied genomes in great detail and learned a lot about evolution, development, and biological function, but they still haven’t discovered the ultimate causes for common problems like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and autism. Maybe the clues to a person’s fate are in the intestines after all? Since the publication of the first catalogue of microbial genes from human guts, the ‘gut microbiome’ (i.e. the collective genome of the resident species) in 2010, genomic analysis of our commensal bacteria has become a widely used approach that could even be called fashionable. But first signs are indicating that some of the long-lost answers to important medical questions may actually show up in the intestines. Life inside us In March 2010, researchers from the BGI in Shenzhen, China, and the international MetaHIT (Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract) consortium reported a catalogue of 3.3 million different gene sequences Gutsy guests: Bacterial cells in our bowels outnumber our own body cells ten to one, and they carry more than 100 times more different genes than our own genome. Recent research suggests that the composition of the gut microbiota can have dramatic effects on human health. (Image: Courtesy of Mattias Bergentall and Fredrik Bäckhed, University of Gothenburg.)
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Brigham Young University – Idaho Bio 180 Lab from human intestines, representing around 150 times as many genes as are found in the human genome (Nature (2010) 464 , 59–65). The study led by Jun Wang and Dusko Ehrlich created more than 500 gig abases worth of sequence length using fecal samples from 124 people.
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