In DepthMicrobiology

Microbiome conservancy stores global fecal samples

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Science  02 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6414, pp. 510-511
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6414.510

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The Global Microbiome Conservancy is ramping up its efforts to identify and preserve gut bacteria from different peoples around the world. Most microbiome research has focused on Western, urban populations, which typically eat processed foods and use antibiotics. The few studies of traditional peoples have found a far more diverse gut microbiome that appears to be linked to the absence of certain diseases. But as traditional societies change their lifestyles, that biodiversity is under threat. Rescuing and preserving the microbes could pave the way for new treatments not just for gut ailments, but for other disorders linked to the microbiome—such as asthma, allergies, obesity, and diabetes. Gathering material from human subjects and importing it to the United States for posterity raises ethical and legal complications, however.