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Isolated Hunter-Gatherers Living in the Amazon Have The Most Diverse Microbiome Ever Documented In Humans

Stashed in: Awesome, Ecosystems, Microbiome, @iflscience

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Plot twist!

Furthermore, despite having no exposure to commercial drugs, the fecal samples showed how the Yanomami harbored gut bacteria with functional genes that code for antibiotic resistance. These genes turned on in response to antibiotics, and in tests, they deactivated various natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic drugs. “The silenced antibiotic-resistant genes show that you don't need exposure to antibiotics to possess antibiotic-resistant genes," Dominquez Bello says in a news release.

These genes may have come from an early exchange between human microbes and soil bacteria, which produce natural antibiotics to kill their competitors. In fact, most antibiotics developed in the 1940s and 1950s were derived from soil bacteria, "so, we would expect that natural resistance to antibiotics would emerge over millions of years of evolution," Washington University’s Gautam Dantas says. However, "it was alarming to find genes from the tribespeople that would deactivate these modern, synthetic drugs,” Dantas adds in a university statement. The work suggests that genes equipped to resist antibiotics may be a natural feature of the human microbiome. 

So all we have to do is figure out how to unlock those genes in ourselves?

Do we want to unlock the genes that are resistant to antibiotics?

Yes because they in turn might be good for fighting harmful bacteria. 

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