Weight influenced by gut bacteria in your genes
New research suggests that genetics could influence a person's gut bacteria, and that, in turn, may affect his or her weight.
In the study, scientists from Cornell University and King's College London sequenced the genes of 1,000 fecal samples taken from 416 pairs of twins, 171 pairs of which were identical and 245 of which were non-identical.
The researchers found that the identical twins shared more specific types of gut bacteria than did the non-identical twins, which they said suggests that genetics influence the type of bacteria present in the gut.
Further analysis showed that the individuals with lower body weight had a higher amount of a certain type of bacteria, called Christensenellaceae minuta, than those with higher body weight. The researchers then tested the effect of giving the bacteria to mice and found that the mice given the bacteria gained less weight than did the mice that were not given the bacteria. Researchers said that the finding shows that increasing the amount of Christensenellaceae minuta bacteria in the gut may help reduce or prevent obesity.
The study's results, published in the journal Cell, suggest that gut bacteria could be a new target for treatments aimed at fighting obesity, researchers said. They added that even though some gut microbes are inherited, people still need to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent the onset of obesity and related diseases.