Microbes In Our Stomachs Help Decide Whether We Are Fat Or Thin

Joe Tomane on a climbing wall during the Australia Wallaby tour in Cape Town. David Rogers/Getty Images

Our genetic makeup influences whether we are fat or thin by shaping which types of microbes thrive in our body, according to a study in the journal Cell.

Researchers, studying twins, identified a specific bacterial family which is highly heritable and more common in lean individuals.

A member of this class of bacteria protected against weight gain when transplanted into mice.

The findings pave the way for personalised probiotic therapies optimised to reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases based on an individual’s genetic makeup.

“Up until now, variation in the abundances of gut microbes has been explained by diet, the environment, lifestyle, and health,” says Ruth Ley of Cornell University.

“This is the first study to firmly establish that certain types of gut microbes are heritable.”

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