You Could Soon Be Classified by Gut Bacteria

Scientists find just three distinct microbe ecosystems
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2011 9:43 AM CDT
You Could Soon Be Classified by Gut Bacteria
Microbes.   (Shutterstock)

Humans can be identified by their blood type, but soon they may also be able to be classified by their "bug type," the New York Times reports. Scientists have discovered that, in the guts of people recently studied, there are three distinct types of microbe ecosystems. Since gut microbes help humans digest food and synthesize vitamins, the discovery of these different "enterotypes" could someday have medical applications, such as helping doctors tailor diets or prescriptions for patients.

The enterotypes were not found to be linked to ethnic background, sex, weight, health, or age; scientists think it's possible that infants' intestines are colonized randomly by different species of microbes. But the lead researcher notes that scientists must test more people, including other ethnicities and people from non-industrial areas, in order to get a fuller picture. Click for more on gut bacteria and how it might be making you fat. (Read more bacteria stories.)

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