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6.5: Study 4- Microbiome as the connection between diet and phenotype

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    In a study by Mozaffarian et al. [4] more than a hundred thousand patients were analyzed with the goal of discovering the effect of diet and lifestyle choices on long-term weight gain and obesity. This study built a model to predict the patients’ weights based on the types and amounts of food they consumed over a certain period of time. They found out that fast-food type of food (processed meats, potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages) were were most highly correlated with obesity. On the other hand, consumption level of yogurt was inversely correlated with obesity.

    Further experiments with mouse and human cohorts showed that, within both control group and fast-food group, increased consumption of yogurt leads to weight loss. In the experiment with mice, some female mice were given Lactobacillus reuteri (a group of bacteria found in yogurt) and allowed to eat as much regular food or fast-food they wanted to. This resulted in significant weight loss in the group of mice that were given the purified bacterial extract.

    An unexpected phenotypical effect of organic yogurt consumption was discovered to be shinier coat of the mice and dogs that were given yogurt as part of their diet. A histological analysis of the skin biopsy of the control and yogurt fed mice proves that the mice that were fed the bacteria in yogurt had hair follicles that are active, leading to active development of healthier and shiny coat and hair.

    This page titled 6.5: Study 4- Microbiome as the connection between diet and phenotype is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Manolis Kellis et al. (MIT OpenCourseWare) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.