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Posted by on May 8, 2008 in Infectious diseases, Pharma

Your Intestinal Flora: Get to Know Them!

Your Intestinal Flora: Get to Know Them!

How many species of gut bacteria do you have? Can you count them? What are their names? Get to know them!

Or so say researchers, more or less, at the University of Graz, Austria, in an awkwardly worded press release. Seems the university has just purchased Roche’s next-generation Genome Sequencer FLX System (not to be confused with the Bowflex System) and plan to characterize the composition of all protective intestinal flora with it.*

That means investigators may be sifting through 40,000 different species of bacteria to identify those that protect against opportunistic intestinal infections, like infection due to Clostridium difficile. Most intestinal bacteria have not been characterized, according to the press release; however, the Roche machine evidently facilitates the job by enabling ultra-fast sequencing.

And once the job is done, we can all say, “I was nothing, nowhere, nobody, until I got to know my intestinal flora.”

*As far as I can tell, Roche’s machine costs $3000-$9000, and a low-end Bowflex System is about $1000.

bmartin (1127 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.