How Are Microbiomes Influenced by Genetic Makeup of Their Host?

One of our main focuses in the Cosmos ID blog has been how microbiomes influence the health of their host. A few noteworthy examples of this include:

      Sleep and the circadian rhythm. Just like people and animals, bacteria have a circadian rhythm of their own, and the quality of human sleep seems to depend, in part, on proper synchronization between our brains and the bacteria in our body.

      Good bacteria and the digestive system. Of all the issues we cover here at Cosmos ID, this one seems to enjoy the most public awareness. The presence of good bacteria has been shown to have an extremely beneficial impact on the digestive system.

      Colon health. Possessing a healthy balance of bacteria and other microbes within the digestive tract has also been linked to lower instances of colon cancer, which is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the US and around the world.

      Mental well-being. Several studies have even linked bacterial imbalance in the digestive system with a higher rate of depression and anxiety.

A recent study reported on by the online magazine Genome web, though, provides a fascinating insight into the other side of this equation: how are microbiomes influenced by the genetic makeup of their hosts?

This study found several strains of microbes that appear to be heritable. Christensenellaceae topped this list, though these bacteria typically appeared in conjunction with several other heritable Bacteria and with Methanogenic Archaea. These organisms were found to be more common in close relatives, even when environmental and lifestyle factors were taken into account. Though nothing can be said for certain, it appears that certain people may prove to be naturally better hosts for some kinds of bacteria than for others. This discovery will hopefully prove to be one step towards the ultimate goal of learning to adjust the human microbiome in order to treat, manage, or even prevent certain health conditions.