, April 20, 2011
/PRNewswire/ -- Every person's intestinal system
falls into one of three clearly distinguishable types of gut microbiota,
comparable to blood types. These types are not related to race, native
country or diet, according to a new metagenomics study by an international
consortium of scientists including Jeroen Raes
, of the VIB and Vrije
Universiteit Brussel, published in Nature. Metagenomics is the study of the
genetic material of complete ecosystems, in this case the human gut.
"The three gut types can explain why the uptake of medicines and
nutrients varies from person to person," says bioinformatician Jeroen Raes
the VIB and Vrije Universiteit Brussel, one of the two lead researchers in
the study. "This knowledge could form the basis of personalized therapies.
Treatments and doses could be determined on the basis of the gut type of the
Improved knowledge of the gut types could also lead to other medical
applications, such as the early diagnosis of intestinal cancer, Crohn's
disease and the adverse effects of obesity.
Three types of gut microbiota
The types of gut microbiota (called enterotypes) can be classified into
three large, clearly distinguishable groups: Bacteroides, Prevotella and
Ruminococcus. They are named for the bacteria that dominate the intestines of
the respective groups. It is still unclear whether people can change from one
group to another during their lives.
This research was conducted by Jeroen Raes
of the VIB Department of
Molecular and Cellular Interactions, Vrije Universiteit Brussel VIB and
Manimozhiyan Arumugam of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, under the
direction of Dusko Ehrlich
and Peer Bork
of the MetaHIT consortium.
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Notes to the editor
VIB is a non-profit research institute in the life sciences in Flanders,
, with 1200 scientists conducting strategic basic research on the
molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the functioning of the human
body, plants, and micro-organisms. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is a
university in the heart of Belgium
SOURCE VIB and Vrije Universiteit Brussel