Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Too many antibiotics? Bacterial ecology that lives on humans has changed in last 100 years

Date:
December 13, 2012
Source:
University of Oklahoma
Summary:
A new study has demonstrated that ancient DNA can be used to understand ancient human microbiomes. The microbiomes from ancient people have broad reaching implications for understanding recent changes to human health, such as what good bacteria might have been lost as a result of our current abundant use of antibiotics and aseptic practices.

The geographic distribution and bacterial diversity of the included samples.
Credit: Tito et al. Insights from Characterizing Extinct Human Gut Microbiomes. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (12): e51146 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051146

A University of Oklahoma-led study has demonstrated that ancient DNA can be used to understand ancient human microbiomes. The microbiomes from ancient people have broad reaching implications for understanding recent changes to human health, such as what good bacteria might have been lost as a result of our current abundant use of antibiotics and aseptic practices.

Cecil M. Lewis Jr., professor of anthropology in the OU College of Arts and Sciences and director of the OU Molecular Anthropology Laboratory, and Raul Tito, OU Research Associate, led the research study that analyzed microbiome data from ancient human fecal samples collected from three different archaeological sites in the Americas, each dating to over 1000 years ago. In addition, the team provided a new analysis of published data from two samples that reflect rare and extraordinary preservation: Otzi the Iceman and a soldier frozen for 93 years on a glacier.

"The results support the hypothesis that ancient human gut microbiomes are more similar to those of non-human primates and rural non-western communities than to those of people living a modern lifestyle in the United States," says Lewis. "From these data, the team concluded that the last 100 years has been a time of major change to the human gut microbiome in cosmopolitan areas."

"Dietary changes, as well as the widespread adoption of various aseptic and antibiotic practices have largely benefited modern humans, but many studies suggest there has been a cost, such as a recent increase in autoimmune related risks and other health states," states Lewis.

"We wish to reveal how this co-evolutionary relationship between humans and bacteria has changed, while providing the foundation for interventions to reconstruct what has been lost. One way to do this is to study remote communities and non-human primates. An alternative path is to look at ancient samples and see what they tell us," Lewis says.

"An argument can be made that remote traditional communities are not truly removed from modern human ecologies. They may receive milk or other food sources from the government, which could alter the microbial ecology of the community. Our evolutionary cousins, non-human primates are important to consider. However, the human-chimp common ancestor was over six million years ago, which is a lot of time for microbiomes to evolve distinct, human signatures."

Retrieving ancient human microbiome data is complementary to these studies. However, studying ancient microbiomes is not without problems. Assuming DNA preserves, there is also a problem with contamination and modification of ancient samples, both from the soil deposition, and from other sources, including the laboratory itself.

"In addition to laboratory controls in our study, we use an exciting new quantitative approach called source tracking developed by Dan Knights from Rob Knight's Laboratory at the University of Colorado in Boulder, which can estimate how much of the ancient microbiome data is consistent with the human gut, rather than other sources, such as soil," explains Lewis.

"We discovered that certain samples have excellent gut microbiome signatures, opening the door for deeper analyses of the ancient human gut, including a better understanding of the ancient humans themselves, such as learning more about their disease burdens, but also learning more about what has changed in our gut today."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oklahoma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Raul Y. Tito, Dan Knights, Jessica Metcalf, Alexandra J. Obregon-Tito, Lauren Cleeland, Fares Najar, Bruce Roe, Karl Reinhard, Kristin Sobolik, Samuel Belknap, Morris Foster, Paul Spicer, Rob Knight, Cecil M. Lewis. Insights from Characterizing Extinct Human Gut Microbiomes. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (12): e51146 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051146

Cite This Page:

University of Oklahoma. "Too many antibiotics? Bacterial ecology that lives on humans has changed in last 100 years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213132546.htm>.
University of Oklahoma. (2012, December 13). Too many antibiotics? Bacterial ecology that lives on humans has changed in last 100 years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213132546.htm
University of Oklahoma. "Too many antibiotics? Bacterial ecology that lives on humans has changed in last 100 years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121213132546.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The village of Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria was where HIV-AIDS was first discovered in Uganda. Its transient population of fishermen and sex workers means the nationwide programme to combat the virus has had little impact. Duration: 02:30 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins