One of the most critical components of studying the microbiome is ensuring you have a profile that is representative of the microbial community present in the donor. The reality of microbiome research, and any research for that matter, is that a variety of factors can impact the quality of your sample and its microbial community and thus, the quality of your data. Assume for example, that the microbial profile resembles Diagram “A” when in the in vivo state. The goal is to minimize any potential source of variability so that your sample accurately reflects that of the in vivo state (Diagram B) rather than an “ex vivo” artefact (Diagram C). Think of it like this: you could take a “snapshot” of the microbial community at the time of collection, preserve it through the analysis and generate an accurate microbiome profile.Read More
DNA Genotek's Microbiome Collection and Stabilization Blog
Much research in the microbiome field involves the collection of stool samples from adult populations and looking at the diversity and composition of their microbiome profiles. But what about stool samples from other populations like children or newborn babies? What for example, can be uncovered by looking at a newborn’s first stool, known as meconium, and is there anything we can learn from this? We had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Connie Mulligan, Professor and Associate Chair from the University of Florida about her very interesting research out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Mulligan is the principal investigator of this research project and has been to the Congo three different times to ensure the smooth running of the project which has been expanding ever since 2012.
Dr. Mulligan’s research team is looking at the effects of maternal stress on newborn health. As Dr. Mulligan explains, eastern Congo has gone through a 20 year Civil war, a war that was characterized by sexual violence and rape, thus creating an extreme stressor for women. They are looking to see if stress actually leaves an epigenetic signature on the genome. They would then take that signature and look at other populations like U.S. populations, who are stressed but in a different way and look to see if that epigenetic signature of stress is universal. The meconium sample, which is one sample that Mulligan’s team is collecting, reflects a very unique microbiome sample because the newborn is still in utero when the sample is produced. It’s very much influenced by the mother’s microbiome but also provides insight into the microbiome of the newborn. Since meconium is a tissue that is both maternal and fetal it might provide some information on how maternal stress is passed on to the newborn and passed on in a way that is remembered decades later.
We reached out to Diana Taft at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center to talk with her about her research in the microbiome field.Read More
Update: Since this interview with the Weizmann Institute, the results of the Personalized Nutrition Project have been published in the journal Cell: “Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses”.
We sat down with Adina Weinberger from the Weizmann Institute to discuss her research in the microbiome field and her experience with using the OMNIgene●GUT* collection and stabilization device. Adina and her team at Weizmann started a research project called the Personalized Nutrition Project (PNP). In this project the blood glucose levels of healthy individuals are monitored over the course of a week and a fecal sample is collected from each participant once during the week. To date they have tested ~800 people and their goal is to include 1000 participants. The team wants to understand the relationship between specific patterns of blood glucose levels and the microbiome of a given individual to determine if there are global rules or trends that emerge.Read More
In our previous blog post, we examined the importance of preserving the microbial profile of fecal samples for microbiome analysis. But how do we ensure the sample collection method is reliable enough to attain an excellent profile? And, what are the challenges to getting a reliable sample? Let’s have a look.Read More