Don’t Waste Any Time! Join The Asian Gut Project Now.

The crowdfunded citizen science project, part of a massive effort to analyze microbial communities across the globe, is now seeking Asian participants.

AsianScientist (Jun. 8, 2016) – The American Gut Project, a crowdfunded citizen science project, is expanding into Asia under the name Asian Gut. The goal of the project is to sequence as many human microbiomes—the unique collection of bacteria and other microbes that live in and on us—as possible.

American Gut, British Gut, Australian Gut, and now Asian Gut are part of the Earth Microbiome Project, a massive effort to analyze microbial communities across the globe.

So far, the project’s results have reported that, in general, a healthy gut microbiome is one with a diverse number of bacterial species in it. Some of the things that are associated with a diverse gut microbiome are some of the same things you already know are good for your health, like a diet high in a variety of different vegetables, fruits and other plants.

But there are some surprises, too. For example, microbiome diversity seems to change with time of year and even increases with the amount of sleep an individual gets each night. In the future, researchers believe a microbiome readout might help them better understand a person’s health, risk of disease and how best to treat it.

The researchers have enlisted the help of a couple that lives in Singapore. Scott Savage, an operations manager, and his wife, Louise Savage, a microbiologist, have volunteered to run Asian Gut—storing sampling kits locally, mailing them to participants throughout Asia, collecting and storing returned samples in a freezer, and then shipping the kits to the US in bulk.

“We’re excited to engage with more participants outside the US, Australia and the UK because we’re finding that, thanks to differences in diet, lifestyle and environment, the country you live in may greatly influence the microbial makeup of your gut and other body sites,” said Dr. Embriette Hyde, assistant project scientist and project manager of American Gut at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine.

According to Hyde, one reason the team is particularly interested in getting more microbial data from Asian participants is because people in Asian countries tend to eat more fermented food than people in Western countries. In a recent study, Hyde and colleagues found that people who make and eat more fermented foods had greater species diversity in their gut microbiomes than non-fermenters.

To that end, the researchers have added survey questions aimed at drilling down on the specific types and quantities of fermented foods a participant makes or eats—kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut, for example.


Source: UC San Diego; Photo: Shutterstock.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Asian Scientist Magazine is an award-winning science and technology magazine that highlights R&D news stories from Asia to a global audience. The magazine is published by Singapore-headquartered Wildtype Media Group.

Related Stories from Asian Scientist