Microbiomes in the human intestines are closely linked to health and well-being, but how our intestinal friends today differ from those of the first human beings is puzzling. Now, new research and analysis of ancient feces revealed that the people of the last millennium had very many different colonies of bacteria growing in their digestive tract.

Microbiomes of Ancient Peoples

Investigators collected samples from eight coprolites (stored sewage) taken from caves around northern Mexico and the southwestern US. Each was between 1,000 and 2,000 years old. They then transported their samples to the laboratory for DNA analysis and romance.

To ensure that no new bacteria will contaminate paleofeces (that is, archaeologists talk about human fertilization), scientists are wearing “clean suits” and contraceptives to extract DNA from each coprolite and the sequence of existing genome in the dust. Their analysis identified 181 genomes that may have originated from ancient human microbiomes. Of those genomes, 39 percent had never been seen before.

A large part of the genome novels in bacteria in these coprolites show that, sometime a thousand years or more, there was an “extinction event” in the stomach of a man who released a large number of bacterial species, lead author and Harvard biologist Aleksandar Kostic told Science. “These are things we don’t go back to.”

In their findings, published in Nature, the authors of the study also show that the gut microbiomes of our ancestors are almost identical to those of people living today in non-industrial societies compared to most industrialized people. These findings provide scientists with additional insight into how industrialization and urbanization have contributed to lasting changes in our microbiome and intestinal health.

antibiotics or many other things,” said one of the study’s authors, University of Montana anthropologist Meradeth Snow, in a statement.

Microbiomes of ancient peoples had a number of genes associated with antibiotic resistance and intestinal degeneration, for example – healthy traits that scientists hope to discover in the future.

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It is important to note that these coprolite samples are probably from indigenous peoples. Sewage is not considered a human waste under the Native American Cemetery Protection and Restoration Act, but some tribes were angry and concerned that they were not touched early enough in the study, because the samples were links of their ancestors, another organization – the author told Science.

In addition to the sequence, scientists have also attempted to reconstruct the genes of ancient bacteria. While synthetic biology is not at a level where we can “rejuvenate” humans with these ancient insects, Kostic told CNN, that future science based on “discovered” viruses could lead to treatments for conditions such as obesity or autoimmune diseases.

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