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Here's Hoping for Lean Microbes

Two papers out of Jeff Gordon's Washington University lab published in today's issue of Nature provide a link between the microbial populations in the gut and the obesity of the host. According to the editor's summary of these metabolic papers:

A study of the abundance of the two dominant groups of bacteria in the gut of obese individuals shows that increased numbers of Bacteroidetes bacteria correlate with weight loss. And a study of genetically obese mice reveals that their gut microbial community has a greater capacity for harvesting energy than that of lean littermates: the trait is transmissible by transplanting the community into germ-free mice. This work suggests that the gut microbiome associated with obesity might be a biomarker and possibly a therapeutic target.

On a personal note, the editors of Genome Technology send a great big thanks to Jeff for giving us another sound reason to shirk our exercise program.


The Scan

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