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A recent study by researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego State University and the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology found that the age and sex of an individual strongly influences the bacterial diversity of the gut microbiome.
The study, published online May 14, 2019 in mSystems, found younger age is positively associated with gut bacterial diversity in both men and women, but young women display greater biodiversity than young men.
Microbiome - Changes - Childhood - Changes - Adulthood
"It is well known that the microbiome changes from childhood to adulthood. We wanted to look at changes that happen in adulthood, from young adults to middle-aged adults, and if those changes are influenced by sex and age," said senior author Varykina Thackray, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "Our findings show a woman's microbiome may be more diverse than a man's and mature sooner."
Greater microbial diversity in the female gut may be associated with sex hormones. "Our results suggest that, because girls go through puberty earlier than boys, the microbiome of men may need time to catch up," said Thackray, who is also a faculty member in the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego.
Research - Team - Diversity - Adults - Regions
The research team analyzed the gut bacterial diversity of approximately 8,900 adults, ages 20 to 69 from four geographic regions: the United States and United Kingdom -- part of the American Gut Project citizen-science initiative based at UC San Diego -- and two independent cohorts from Colombia and China.
In terms of age, researchers found that in the U.S., U.K. and Colombia cohorts, bacterial biodiversity correlated positively with age in young adults (ages 20 to 45) but plateaued around age 40, with no positive association observed in middle-aged adults (ages 45 to 69).
"We were intrigued to...
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