Metagenomics – what is it?
The human body is colonized by an enormous number of microorganisms. The community of microorganisms living within one habitat is termed “microbiota” and the entity of their genetic material, “metagenome”. Metagenomics refers to a combined analysis of the genes or genomes of the microbiota in a sample.
The alteration of the composition of the gut microbiota has been linked to various diseases. It is believed that for many of these diseases the intestinal microorganisms are important for pathogen resistance and for promoting a proper immune response of the host. Many of the mircoorganisms colonizing the gut, however, up to now cannot be cultured. Identification of these organisms can therefore only be achieved by a culture independent method. Metagenomics is based on analysis of DNA extracted from a sample, therefore unknown and unculturable organisms can also be detected.
Microbiota – why is it important?
Bacteria outnumber human cells by a factor of approximately 10. Normally this coexistence can be described as symbiotic; bacteria within the gastrointestinal tract take over tasks for the human host, for example degrading substances into digestible nutrients, and in return the microorganisms can exist in a protected and nutrient rich environment. The interaction between humans and microorganisms is essential for health, but also plays an important role in disease.
More and more studies point to the intestinal microbiota being associated with many different diseases ranging from inflammatory bowel diseases to cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Conditions such as adipositas may also be linked to the gut colonizing community of microorganisms.
How can CeMeT help you?
One goal of CeMeT is to assist physicians by providing therapeutic advice based upon a patient’s analyzed metagenome, enabling personalized and targeted treatment. CeMeT’s second goal is to provide information to the general public about how their lifestyle interacts with their metagenome and which conclusions can be drawn from this information.
CeMeT was founded by three professors of the University Tübingen, Drs Ingo Autenrieth, Daniel Huson and Detlef Weigel (Scientific Advisory Board), in cooperation with CeGaT GmbH. This partnership combines expertise in pre-analytics, sequencing, data analysis, microbiology and medicine. Determination, analysis and assessment of the metagenome with state of the art techniques, will be utilized to solve problems arising in the field of medicine.