Basic Science News at Duke School of Medicine

Scientists Unlock Secrets of Gut Bacteria Linked to Heart Health

Scientists at Duke University School of Medicine are the first to decode the genetic makeup of Akkermansia, a gut bacterium that could help manage cholesterol levels and be used as a next-generation probiotic.  

Akkermansia thrives in the mucus layer of the intestine and has a knack for breaking down a type of sugary protein called mucin. This unique skill could be important for our health.  

When Akkermansia is present in the right amounts, it’s associated with better metabolic and immune health. That’s why some scientists are exploring it as a probiotic.  

DNA Barcoding Identifies the Plants a Person Has Eaten

What people say they’ve eaten and what they’ve actually eaten are often two very different lists of foods. But a new technique using DNA barcoding to identify the plant matter in human feces may get at the truth, improving clinical trials, nutrition studies and more..