Diet is the Chief Factor Behind Gut Microbiome Diversity, Study Shows

Diet is the Chief Factor Behind Gut Microbiome Diversity, Study Shows
In a recent study entitled “Diet Dominates Host Genotype in Shaping the Murine Gut Microbiota,” researchers are suggesting diet may be a stronger factor in modulating microbiome in the gut compared to genetics. The study was published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. Gut microbiome is increasingly being recognized as a key factor in determining human health, with changes in its composition associated with a wide range of conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Notably, however, while the human gut microbiota is composed in general of approximately 70 bacterial species, there is variation among individuals. Furthermore, while the members of the gut microbiota can be stably maintained for years, the relative abundance of each member is quite dynamic. What causes these variations between individuals and over time is incompletely understood. In this study, a research team led by Peter Turnbaugh sought to determine what drives these changes in the gut microbiota: is it our genome or our diet? To answer this question, the authors administered two different types of diet — a low-fat, high-plant-polysaccharide diet (LFPP) and a high-fat, high-sugar diet (HFHS) — to five inbred mouse strains (mice that are genetically identical), and to “knockout” mice that lacked the genes known to play a role in determining gut microbiome — mouse strains used in the study included MyD88 –/–, NOD2–/–, ob/ob, and Rag1–/– – and a Diversity Outbred (DO) population of mice. The authors discovered that diet was the major driver of microbiome diversity, with the different diets increasing the abundance of members of the Firmicutes phylum, while it decreased those belonging to the Bacteroidetes phylum, independently of mice genotype. Fur
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