October 6, 2022

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They made the human microbiome in the lab.  How did that happen?

They made the human microbiome in the lab. How did that happen?

Stanford University scientists have created the first human microbiome in a lab. For this purpose, they used 119 types of bacteria that are present in our living organisms.

The gut microbiome is made up of hundreds of species of bacteria that live in our digestive system. Their tasks include supporting the functioning of the immune system and controlling the digestive process. A final challenge in this regard was to create a lab microbiome and then transplant it into mice. There, bacteria multiplied and protected the rodents from coli bacteriaBy supporting the development of a healthy immune system.

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Members of the research team led by Michael Fischbach set out to create their own microbiome from the most common bacteria. This was helped by representatives of the Human Microbiome Project, a project that aims to sequence the complete genomes of more than 300 adults. In the end, Fischbach and his colleagues initially selected 166 strains of bacteria that are present in most people. We can read about the details of the case in the pages cell.

These species were bred separately and then mixed to form a group of 119 strains, which the team responsible for the experiment named hCom1. Of course, just working in the lab was not enough to achieve full success: it still had to be replicated inside a living organism.

The human microbiome is made up not only of bacteria, but also of fungi and viruses

To see if this was possible, the researchers inserted hCom1 into the intestines of mice that had been previously modified to be free of other bacteria. For about two months, the microbiome was very stable, so the scientists introduced another mixture of 119 strains into the mice organisms. The new microbiome known as hCom2It provided the rodents with greater immunity. As a result, contact with E. coli did not pose a risk to mice.

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The authors of the cited studies were not only able to provide protection by creating a microbiome, but also used the possibility of removing or modifying specific strains in order to determine which of them provide exactly the desired properties. Several species have proven to be of particular interest, so further research should allow an accurate list to be prepared for use in human patients.