13 Dec 2022


The Human Microbiome: Everything You Need to Know

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Some human conditions have for long been inexplicable regarding what causes them. Scientists and medical professionals have sought to find a way of providing suitable solutions and answers to these individuals. A much recent advancement has, however, indicated that microbiomes have an influence on the onset of various infections that have been experienced today. Cases such as obesity and arthritis have been proved to have an effect as a result of this microbiomes. This paper looks at Turnbaugh et al. (2006) research on how these microbiomes influence obesity in people. 

Turnbaugh et al. (2006) set out to determine how obesity was influenced by the gut microbiota. Gut microbiota, also called gut flora, refers to the microorganisms that are found in the digestive tracts of human beings and even animals as well as insects (Gut Microbiota for Health, 2017). The microorganisms are found in colossal numbers (tens of trillions to be precise). They are also said to weigh approximately 2kg if measured. On the other hand, obesity is a human condition that makes individuals become excessively fat or overweight. A person whose body weight goes 20% above the required body weight is described as being obese. The disease has very gross effects on an individual’s health as it makes them susceptible to other diseases (Obesity Society, 2016). For instance, people with obesity are said to be highly likely to be affected by type 2 diabetes. 

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For their analysis, Turnbaugh et al. (2006) used the shotgun sequencing of microbiomes method. They used mice for their study. They also conducted a taxonomic analysis of the microbiomes. From then, the groups conducted a detailed analysis of the caecal microbiomes that they obtained from both the obese and lean littermates. They obtained DNA samples from the caeca of ob/ob, ob/+, and +/+ littermates so as to determine how each harvested energy from food and in what rates. 

Their findings indicated that there was a high affinity for the obese microbiota (ob/ob) to earnest energy from the diet as compared to lean microbiota. It was also found that the obese microbiota had Environmental Gene Tags (EGTs) enrichment. Significantly, it was also found out that most of the mice with high obese microbiota were leptin-deficient. 

This results indicated that indeed there was microbiota that was responsible for harvesting energy from food in large amounts thus resulting to an energy imbalance. This implies that individuals who are obese or come from a family of genetically obese people are prone to becoming more obese of developing obesity respective to either of the cases. Nevertheless, obese microbiota does not take long to manifest itself in a person. It takes just a short while, and the individual starts experience issues with their weight. 


Obesity Society. (2016). What is obesity? Obesity Society . Retrieved on 6 March 2017 from http://www.obesity.org/obesity/resources/facts-about-obesity/what-is-obesity. 

Turnbaugh, P. J.; Ley, R. E.; Mahowald, M. A.; Magrini, V.; Mardis, E. R. & Gordon, J. I. (2006). An obesity-associated gut micro-biome with increased capacity for energy harvest. Nature, 444 , 1027-1031. 

Gut Microbiota for Health. (2017). What is gut microbiota? Retrieved on 6 March 2017 from http://www.gutmicrobiotaforhealth.com/en/about-gut-microbiota-info/. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). The Human Microbiome: Everything You Need to Know.


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