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Episode Info:

Host: Jeff Fox with special guests, Cecil M. Lewis, Jr. and Krithivasan Sankaranarayanan.

Lewis and Krithivasan Sankaranarayanan—“Krithi”-- both from the University of Oklahoma in Norman talk with Jeff Fox about their analyses of the gut microbiomes of American Indians of Cheyenne and Arapaho ancestry.

Lewis, Krithi, and their collaborators learned that the gut microbial taxonomic profiles of these Native Americans are characterized by a reduced abundance of anti-inflammatory bacteria and also that their fecal metabolite profiles are similar to those found in individuals with metabolic disorders. Although this was a random sampling from a generally healthy group of individuals, their gut microbiota suggests that some of them might have health problems brewing below the surface—not a surprise among a population prone to metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. “For three years, we collaborated with the Cheyenne and Arapaho to discuss these topics and identify common ground for the research process, including our microbiome data," Lewis says. I don't believe the microbiome pattern resulted from the genetics of the American Indian. It is likely related to the socioeconomic challenges and resource availability in rural areas of Oklahoma."

This story was featured in the February 2016 issue of Microbe Magazine.

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