Human Gut Microbes Represent a Wealth of New Drugs

A presently untapped resource of medical innovation is coming into clearer view thanks to new DNA analyses that look closely at microbial presence in the human gut. 

Human Gut Microbes Represent a Wealth of New Drugs

What's the Latest Development?


A presently untapped resource of medical innovation is coming into clearer view thanks to new DNA analyses that look closely at microbial presence in the human gut. As a result of recent technological developments, scientists now believe that microbial interactions directly influence the development of medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, inflammation, and gastrointestinal disease. "The microbes that live with us have a lot of impact on our health, positive as well as negative," says Gary Andersen, a microbiologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

What's the Big Idea?

The importance of microbial chemical interactions has gone virtually unnoticed, until recently, because most of these organisms can't grow in pure cultures of a single species, and are therefore difficult to cultivate in laboratory settings. But now, companies like Second Genome, run by Mr. Andersen, believe that by studying interactions between microbes and our bodies' own gastro-chemistry, new treatments could be developed. The company is currently investigating the microbiome's effect on inflammatory and metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at MIT Technology Review

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

The mystery of the Bermuda Triangle may finally be solved

Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.

Surprising Science

One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.

Keep reading Show less

Astrophysicists find unique "hot Jupiter" planet without clouds

A unique exoplanet without clouds or haze was found by astrophysicists from Harvard and Smithsonian.

Illustration of WASP-62b, the Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its atmosphere.

Credit: M. Weiss/Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers from Harvard and Smithsonian find a very rare "hot Jupiter" exoplanet without clouds or haze.
  • Such planets were formed differently from others and offer unique research opportunities.
  • Only one other such exoplanet was found previously.
Keep reading Show less

Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois)

Credit: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
Keep reading Show less
Politics & Current Affairs

FOSTA-SESTA: Have controversial sex trafficking acts done more harm than good?

The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast