The Gut Microbiome is Predominantly Shaped by the Environment

Nature vs nurture

 

Nature or nurture?

 

It’s one of the fundamental questions underlying the many chronic immune-mediated diseases (Arthritis, diabetes, IBD etc.) that are on the rise in modern life.

 

It is also one of the big questions regarding how the composition of our gut microbiomes is regulated.

 

Which has the greatest effect, our genes or the environment?

 

In a preprint publication on biorxive, a team of researchers from the Weizmann institute now has the answer.

 

When it comes to the gut microbiome, environment trumps genetics!

 

So how did they figure it out?

 

The research team sequenced the DNA (genotyped) of 696 healthy individuals. They also analyzed their microbiomes, blood profiles (fasting glucose, glycemic status), BMI and dietary habits.

 

What did they find?

 

They found no correlation between microbiome composition and ethnicity, genotype or overall genetic similarity.

 

However, they did find significant microbiome similarities between unrelated individuals who share a household and similarities based on dietary habits and BMI.

 

So, the composition of your microbiome mostly depends on what you eat and where you live.