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Researchers at EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have identified almost 2000 bacterial species living in the human gut. These species are yet to be cultured in the lab. The team used a range of computational methods to analyse samples from individuals worldwide.
The results, published in the journal Nature, demonstrate that although researchers are possibly getting closer to creating a comprehensive list of microbes common in the microbiomes of North American and European people, there is a significant lack of data from other regions of the world.
Gut - Species - Microbes - Gut - Microbiota
The human gut is home to many species of microbes, collectively referred to as the gut microbiota. Despite extensive studies in the field, researchers are still working on identifying the individual microbial species that live in the gut and understanding what roles they play in human health.
There are many reasons that some microbial species among the gut microbiota have remained unknown for so long, such as a low abundance or an inability to survive outside it. By using computational methods, researchers were able to reconstruct the genomes of these bacteria.
Methods - Bacteria - Culture - Lab - Metagenomics
"Computational methods allow us to understand bacteria that we cannot yet culture in the lab. Using metagenomics to reconstruct bacterial genomes is a bit like reconstructing hundreds of puzzles after mixing all the pieces together, without knowing what the final image is meant to look like, and after completely removing a few pieces from the mix just to make it that bit harder," says Rob Finn, Group Leader at EMBL-EBI. "Researchers are now at a stage where they can use a range of computational...
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