June 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm #3060HarrisonKeymaster2 pts
This article appeared in the New York Times in April and discusses the classifications (enterotypes) of the human gut as ecosystems. The researchers suggest that our GI tracts can be categorized microbiologically; and that every one of us can be put into these complicated ecosystem assignments. Fascinating work indeed.
Other researchers are also performing similar research using other approaches to further identify and catalog other critical parts of the ecosystem, especially the biofilm that holds these communities together. These articles should be coming out later this year.
April 20, 2011
Bacterial Ecosystems Divide People Into 3 Groups, Scientists Say
By CARL ZIMMER
In the early 1900s, scientists discovered that each person belonged to one of four blood types. Now they have discovered a new way to classify humanity: by bacteria. Each human being is host to thousands of different species of microbes. Yet a group of scientists now report just three distinct ecosystems in the guts of people they have studied.
Blood type, meet bug type.
Its an important advance, said Rob Knight, a biologist at the University of Colorado, who was not involved in the research. Its the first indication that human gut ecosystems may fall into distinct types.
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