Washington: A new study has revealed that genetic makeup influences how fat or thin people are by shaping which types of microbes thrive in the body.
The researchers from Cornell University have identified the Christensenellaceae bacterial family, which is highly heritable and more common in lean individuals. Moreover, a member of this class of bacteria, Christensenellaceae minuta, protected against weight gain when transplanted into mice.
The findings pave the way for personalized probiotic therapies that are optimized to reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases based on an individual's genetic makeup.
Ruth Ley, associate professor of microbiology and the paper's senior author, said that if people look across the population of gut bacteria and explain abundances, there is a host genetic component and up until now there had been no direct evidence that any thing in the human gut is under that kind of genetic influence.
The researchers said that with twins raised in the same households, one can assume that environmental influences are going to be very similar to one another, but it was found that identical twins, who have the same genetic makeup, had more similar gut microbiotas to each other than did fraternal twins, who share half the same genes.
The study was published in the journal Cell.