José Manuel NievesSEGUIR Updated: Save Send news by email electrónicoTu name *

Your email *

Your email *

A team of researchers from different institutes of the Wellcome trust Genome Campus , in the United has managed to identify 70.000 virus until now unknown in human intestine , where infected systematically to the bacteria that live there. For now, it is unknown how they affect our body and the impact they have on our health. The finding was recently published in the journal ‘Cell’.

The microbiome in the gut, that is to say, the vast community of bacteria and other organisms that reside in our digestive system, plays a very important role in the digestion of food and the regulation of the immune system, which is beneficial for us.

however, there are studies that relate these microbial communities with conditions such as obesity, allergies, or liver disease. Surprisingly, it is certain that we know still very little about the the microbiome . And despite the fact that it includes a variety of microorganisms, including fungi, bacteria and viruses, the vast majority of the existing studies only have focused on bacteria, which are larger and easier to detect.

In this new work, however, the researchers used a method called metagenomics, which scans all the genetic material existing, to be able to also identify the virus. Later, mapped all the genetic sequences individual found and compared with the existing databases in order to assign them to specific species. In total, the team analyzed more than 28,000 different samples of the microbiome in the gut, obtained in 28 countries.

The process brought to light the entire genomes of more than to 140,000 species of viruses that live in the human intestine , half of which are unknown. Of course, each individual person does not carry the total of those species, but only a fraction of them. The researchers also focused on the virus ‘bacteriophages’ or ‘phage’, that is to say, able to infect bacteria.

The reason for this, according to Luis Camarillo-Warrior , the principal author of the research, is that “we’re still figuring out what is their role in human health. It is probably safe to say that the vast majority of them are not harmful to us and that are, quite simply, an integral component of the microbiota of our body.” Bacteriophages, for example, may have a prominent role in the evolution of the bacteria in our gut, providing genetic traits advantageous.

“Given that the bacterial communities are a critical component of our gut -explains Camarillo-Warrior – it is not difficult to imagine that the phages could be playing a key role in the maintenance of a healthy balance in him.”

however, cases are known in which the phages have also contributed to the development of illnesses, ranging from diphtheria, a serious bacterial infection, to botulism, which attacks the nerves of the body. The two diseases, in effect, are caused by toxins that are encoded in genes of the phages.

The researchers, as stated by Camarillo-Warrior, have published the genomes of these viruses invading bacteria in a new database called ‘ Database phage intestinal ‘, which can now be used for making new studies. “A genome -says the scientist – it is like the model of an organism. The amount of information we can extract by knowing only the DNA sequence of an organism is very large.”

See the comments