Foundation funds study of 'friendly' microbes | Science Blog:
Gordon views the human gut as "a bioreactor programmed with at least 800 different species of bacteria." "Fortunately, these microbes endow us with key metabolic functions that we have not had to evolve on our own," Gordon says.
He and his colleagues have used mouse models of the human gut ecosystem to show that intestinal bacteria allow calories to be harvested from otherwise indigestible components of the diet, such as polysaccharides. These microbes also regulate the amount of extracted energy that is stored in fat cells. The implication of these findings is that variations in the composition of gut microbial communities among different people may be an important factor that influences predisposition to obesity and obesity-related disorders such as diabetes and heart disease.
So, by studying the genome, the evolution, and the relationships of commensal bacteria, we can treat obesity, and prevent diseases.