Microbes in our gut have been with us for millions of years

Article Link: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/07/microbes-our-guts-have-been-us-millions-years


There is a common misconception of where and how humans acquire the microbes that are currently present in their bodies. Some studies suggest that microbes are more likely to be rather than acquired. Others suggest that an organism’s diet plays a direct role in the presence of particular bacteria in our guts. In order to settle the dilemma, a study was conducted involving the isolation of gut bacteria from fecal samples from various mammalian species, including apes and humans. DNA analysis and gene sequencing was used to create family trees. This revealed that the majority of gut microbes found in the mammalian gut have evolved with us over time. They discovered that two major families of gut bacterial strains in apes and humans trace back to a common ancestor more than 15 million years ago. These microbes have evolved over a long period of time to better train our immune systems, and also play a role in regulating our moods and behaviors.


Since the beginning of the semester, we have discussed the truly phenomenal and fascinating aspects of the microbial community and the important role they play in human health.

Critical Analysis:

This article was rather fascinating in regards to the role microbes play in mammalian species. It truly baffles me that the majority of the strains of bacteria found in the human body have been with us for many centuries. It also really demonstrates the fact that not all microbes are as harmful as many assume them to be.

Questions: Would this be a reliable and accurate method for  study the evolutionary history of the human species and their migratory patterns?

1 Comment for “Microbes in our gut have been with us for millions of years”

Rei Shibue


I agree with your analysis. After I read that article, I found human biome is amazing. Microbes in our gut contributes to us in many ways like helping our digestion, protecting us from other bacteria or virus and strengthening our immune system. I heard some interesting thing like even though we eat some yogurt which contains bacteria which make our digestion well like bifidobacteria, they are beaten by microbes in our gut because in order for them to stay in gut, they have to compete with others and become strong. Therefore, they become stronger after millions years later andit’s interesting.