We live in a world of diversity. Our planet abounds in diversity at all levels: flora, fauna, people, cultures, beliefs, ways of life... Diversity is associated with a state of harmonious balance in an ecosystem. Without diversity, life would not be what it is today.
We are microbial and the bacteria that make up our bodies are also a fine example of diversity. Since our birth, we live in symbiosis with the micro-organisms that make up our microbiome. This symbiotic relationship is essential to maintain our physical and mental health. Our gut microbiome has a close relationship with our immune system.
Without a good bacterial diversity, such as for example if our microbiome is less species-rich, the host-microbiome balance risks losing its harmony and protective functions. It is then associated with a decrease in the protection of the intestinal barrier against pathogenic bacteria and can promote an inflammatory state that increases the risk of chronic diseases.
Today, many studies show that the diversity or richness of our gut microbiome is under threat. Some bacteria present in our microbiome are disappearing and this could persist for future generations.
Our modern way of life could be the cause. Stress, anxiety, excessive intake of antibiotics, environmental pollution, consumption of ultra-processed foods and animal proteins to the detriment of fiber intake (fruits and vegetables, in particular), disrupt our gut microbiome and negatively impact our health.
"In laboratory animals, removing the fibers causes a permanent loss of 25 to 30% of the species richness of the microbiome within a few generations. The same difference is observed when comparing microbiomes from isolated Amazonian or Tanzanian tribes with those from western urban areas. Among patients, the same is true for a large number of chronic diseases, the incidence of which has been increasing 'as if by chance' for 60 years.", Joël Doré, INRAE Research Director and Scientific Director of MetaGenoPolis.
It is therefore becoming essential to preserve this biodiversity. Nourishing and preserving our symbiosis is essential to maintaining health and well-being.
To do this, our food will be a front-line lever. The way we eat impacts our gut microbiome and our body. The more varied and "healthy" our diet is, the more diverse our microbiome is and the more capable it is of protecting us from pathogenic bacteria, viral infections and other diseases.
"Fibers will nourish our intestinal microbiota and enable it to enrich its functions. A diversified intestinal microbiota favours our immune system and strengthens its defence capacity against infections. It therefore becomes necessary to consume more and a wider variety of fibers.", Joël Doré.
It is also possible to preserve this diversity by freezing the billions of microorganisms that constitute our gut microbiome. These endangered bacteria can be used in the future for therapeutic purposes, for example by being transplanted if necessary to enrich our microbiome or that of future generations.
At MetaGenoPolis, we are invested in exploring and preserving the diversity / richness of the microbiome. For research, we have a biobank that can contain several hundred thousand samples and the bacteria that make them up. This state-of-the-art system, labeled Centre de Ressources Biologiques (Biological Resource Centre), allows a high quality conservation of the samples over time. We initiated the construction and storage of 100,000 stool samples to study the microbiome of the French and to better understand its role in the context of a personalized diet and medicine.
Our core expertise is to look at the microbial species richness of the gut microbiome by shotgun metagenomics. High throughput and total DNA sequencing of microbes living in the digestive tract allows the stratification of individuals and the characterization of their microbiome. This detailed mapping of the composition of the gut microbiome and its inter-individual variability opens the way to a better understanding of the link between the microbiome and diseases.
Finally, we are convinced that diversity is a key driver of innovation. We therefore offer a diversity of technologies and skills within our teams.