The scientists at OSU (Oregon State University) have made significant development in understanding the functions that gut bacteria have in human health. By learning the mechanisms through which gut microbes impact the health of their hosts paves the way to the development of more personalized and better diagnostic therapies and methods. Most of the studies so far have aimed at how the intake of the microbiome—organisms present and in what amounts—links with health in general or different diseases. The OSU research was conducted by Courtney Armour—Ph.D. student—and goes a step further by studying which organisms are present in the microbiome and what functions they may be performing. The research was published in mSystems. Armour studied findings and data from eight various studies including seven dissimilar diseases in a metagenomic meta-analysis.

Reportedly, metagenomics is the study of genetic material recuperated directly from environmental samples—such as human fecal samples—against organisms cultured in a laboratory. A meta-analysis is a numerical technique for merging data from several studies. The meta-analysis was performed along with the collaborators involved metagenomic information from almost 2,000 samples collected for research involving Crohn’s disease, colorectal cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, liver cirrhosis, obesity, type II diabetes, and ulcerative colitis.

On a similar note, recently, a study established global microbial signatures for colorectal cancer. For long, cancers have been known to occur due to environmental encounters like unhealthy diet or smoking. In recent time, the microbes residing on and in our body have entered the phase as crucial players, while stomach cancer can be occurred by a solo bacterial species, Helicobacter pylori, the function that gut microbes have in the advancement of colorectal cancer—which is the third common cancer across the globe—is unclear.