Genetics or Lifestyle: What Is It That Shapes our Microbiome?

editor Wednesday 14 March 2018 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email Printer friendly

By Weizmann Institute of Science.. The question of nature vs nurture extends to our microbiome – the personal complement of mostly-friendly bacteria we carry around with us. Study after study has found that our microbiome affects nearly every aspect of our health; and its microbial composition, which varies from individual to individual, may hold the key to everything from weight gain to moods. Some microbiome researchers had suggested that this variation begins with differences in our genes; but a large-scale study conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science challenges this idea and provides evidence that the connection between microbiome and health may be even more important than we thought.

Indeed, the working hypothesis has been that genetics plays a major role in determining microbiome variation among people. According to this view, our genes determine the environment our microbiome occupies, and each particular environment allows certain bacterial strains to thrive. However, the Weizmann researchers were surprised to discover that the host’s genetics play a very minor role in determining microbiome composition – only accounting for about 2% of the variation between populations. Read the full story.



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