American Gut Project
by Laura Villanti on January 21st, 2013

Just 13 more days left.... to enroll in this valuable project... read on.

I wanted to share with you some info on the American Gut project.  This is an easy, valuable and low cost way for any of us to know what is going on in our gut with regard to bacterial terrain.   A detailed stool analysis will be provided as part of this project.   As many of you likely know, a detailed stool analysis is not something that we use as part of our standard health/medicine tools, unless someone is perhaps ‘already in a state of gut dysbiosis’.
There is a link at the bottom of this page for this project.  I would highly encourage you to participate if you want to understand  the bacterial terrain of your gut, and be part of this science project where we can better understand the correlation of diet and lifestyle with the health of our gut flora.
And, the price is right … at $99, as I believe that some of our higher quality stool tests can cost multiple of this.  And, if you are a resident of NY State, we are even precluded from using some of the best labs in the country when it comes to stool samples. (just state regulations)
I connected with the organizer of American Gut back in November and had a few questions for him for which he replied…
Note that the project is a collaboration between Human Food Project, Rob Knight's Lab at the Univ of CO and The Earth Microbiome Project (Jack Gilbert at the Univ of Chicago).
In addition, the team of scientists on the project is made up of the leading microbiologists, bioinformatics and microbial ecologist in the world.

The strength and quality of sequencing data from stool samples etc is 1) based on the lab standards/protocols/equipment and 2) the statistical methods used to analyze the data. In short, Rob's Lab at the Univ of CO is a research lab - actually the top lab in the world. A great many of the statistical tools used in the data analysis (which every lab and microbiologist in the world uses) were either developed by Rob and his team or one of the other collaborators on this project.

As for the output, every volunteer will receive a detailed list of ALL the bacteria detected in the sequencing - which can number in the hundreds, if not higher. They will also receive some cool color-coded diagrams showing beneficial vs pathogenic. However, the most useful and powerful part of the study will be the detailed diet and lifestyle (metadata) that everyone has to fill out. The real take home and value in this study is to compare groups of people as they cluster by the metadata. In other words, the presence or absence of certain pathogens is moot at some level - it's the diversity, abundance and community-level comparisons between different groups of people that is the most interesting and useful. Based on the massive data set - which will be combined with other project data sets (for example, the $100M + Human Microbiome Project), volunteers will see more than a lab report - but will participate in a community understanding of how their current 'grouping' may be improved based on the power of the massive data set.

It's hard to overstate the incredible team that is more or less volunteering their time to interpret the results and provide information for the American Gut project.

You have until Feb 2nd to enroll in this project.  Don’t delay if this is something of interest to you.

Click here to learn more and enroll.

Posted in Bacteria, General, Importance of Diet    Tagged with American Gut Project, Gut Bacteria


Leave a Comment