Scientists urge to create “Noah’s ark” for microbes

Scientists urge to create “Noah’s ark” for microbes

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To collect microorganisms for storage need the remote representatives of the Latin American and African populations.

A group of researchers pointed to the decrease in the diversity of the human microbiota that causes the development of serious diseases. To avoid this, scientists have proposed to create a repository of known microorganisms.

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A team of researchers from Rutgers University in new Brunswick released an article for the journal Science, which described the idea of creating a special repository for microorganisms. According to scientists, the biological diversity of these organisms, you must save them if it continues to decrease, it will cause irreversible consequences for the health of the entire human population.

All the microorganisms living in symbiosis with man, referred to as microbiota or microflora. They are counted in the trillions. Only one intestine lives several hundred species of microorganisms, most of which are bacteria (the most famous representative – Escherichia coli). The microbiota also includes microscopic fungi and protozoa, such as Paramecium. These microorganisms are necessary for normal functioning of the human body. So, bacteria in the intestine involved in the digestion of complex carbohydrates and produce vitamins.

The authors of the Science paper believe that changes in the microbiota of the human, occurring simultaneously with the industrialization of social life, have a negative impact on the General state of his health. As an example, they cite a sharp increase in diseases related to metabolism, immune system and cognitive disorders, which has occurred since the Second world war. The fact that the number of cases of diabetes, asthma, obesity increased primarily in industrialized countries.

The industrialization of society, according to the scientists, is significantly correlated with reduction in diversity of the microbiota of man. Thus, the diversity of microorganisms in the intestine of South American Indians was two times higher than in healthy people in the United States. When industrialization changed many factors affecting the human body: and the water which he drinks, and food, and air. All this together leads to serious changes in the microflora.

To avoid a further reduction in the diversity of microbiota, the researchers suggest to create a kind of “Noah’s ark” for microorganisms symbiotic, existing in man. The researchers compare it with the world seminarseries on Svalbard – safe storage of samples of seeds of major crops.

Scientists believe that to collect microorganisms for storage need the remote representatives of the Latin American and African populations with the greatest diversity of microbiota along with the residents of developed countries. Undoubtedly, such a project will require large monetary investments and human resources. In addition, the practical benefit of the introduction of microorganisms into the human body for disease prevention yet are not well understood.At the same time, research on animals, particularly fish, has shown that this practice can have a really powerful effect. Last year researchers from the Institute for biology of ageing max Planck was able to extend the life of the fish through the sharing of the intestinal microbiota.


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