The French Gut: A Project To Map The Microbiota Of The French.
Scientists are increasingly discussing the importance of gut flora and the need to take care of it for good health. However, they have not yet unraveled all the mysteries of this microscopic world, also known as the microbiota. That is why Inrae launched a project called the French Gut last September. Its aim is to map the microbiota of the French population. Here's an explanation.
What is the French Gut project?
The French Gut project, which literally means "the French intestine", aims to learn more about this organ and, more specifically, the billions of bacteria that inhabit it.
Our intestines house a vast ecosystem composed of 50 trillion bacteria. This microbiota, which represents one kilogram of our body weight, is unique to each person and its composition varies greatly from individual to individual.
With this research project launched on September 16, 2022, by Inrae and a dozen private partners, scientists aim to analyze the microbiota of 100,000 French individuals. Their goal? To establish an unprecedented mapping of this still mysterious microscopic world...
What does microbiome mapping consist of?
To analyze a person's gut flora, all that is needed today is a stool sample. The methodology used in the context of this national study involves extracting the DNA from these samples and sequencing it to identify the bacterial genes and species present in the person's microbiota, as well as the respective proportions of different bacteria.
Advancements in genetic sequencing techniques in recent years have allowed us to learn more about what is still sometimes referred to as gut flora... However, until now, these studies have only focused on a limited number of individuals, as part of research on specific pathologies.
The French Gut is a much more ambitious scientific project as it plans to collect, sequence, and analyze 100,000 fecal samples by 2027.
Why map the microbiota of the French?
As scientific knowledge of the microbiota progresses, we realize that this intestinal ecosystem plays an important role in digestive, metabolic, immune, and neurological functions. Its composition is believed to reflect our overall health.
Conversely, alteration of the gut flora could be the cause of numerous pathologies such as obesity, diabetes, Crohn's disease, and certain cancers. However, science has not yet uncovered all the secrets of this internal world and has not yet precisely determined its impact on health.
The French Gut project is part of a larger international program called the Million Microbiome of Humans Project. This international program aims to map one million microbiotas and create the largest database in the world in order to advance research.
Scientists are particularly interested in understanding the impact of our diet, pollution, stress, or antibiotics on our gut flora, as well as whether it is possible to act on its composition to prevent the onset of certain diseases.
Who can participate in the French Gut project?
If you want to advance science and specifically the knowledge of the fascinating world hidden in our intestines, you can volunteer on the official website of the French Gut project (see the link below).
To participate, you must:
• be over 18 years old
• reside in mainland France
• not have taken antibiotics or undergone a colonoscopy in the previous 3 months.
Before receiving a stool collection kit, you must fill out a questionnaire of about fifteen minutes to describe your dietary habits and lifestyle (including questions about smoking and level of physical activity).
But rest assured: all personal and medical data you provide will be kept confidential and only accessible to research teams.