Body weight heavily influenced by microbes in the gut: study

LONDON, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Our genetic makeup influences whether we are fat or thin by shaping which types of microbes thrive in our body, according to a British study published Thursday in the scientific journal Cell.

In a study involving twins at the Department of Twin Research at King's College London (KCL), researchers identified a specific bacterial family, which is highly heritable and more common in individuals with low body weight.

Previous research has linked both genetic variation and the composition of gut microbes to metabolic disease and obesity. Despite these shared effects, the relationship between human genetic variation and the diversity of gut microbes was presumed to be negligible.

In the study, researchers sequenced the genes of microbes found in more than 1,000 fecal samples from 416 sets of twins. The abundances of specific types of microbes were found to be more similar in identical twins, who share 100 percent of their genes, than in fraternal twins, who share only half of the same genes. These findings demonstrate that genes influence the composition of gut microbe


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