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Gut Microbiome Protects Lab Mice Against Arsenic in Water

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Arsenic is currently listed as the number one substance that poses the most significant potential threat to human health, however, researchers aren’t as sure as to what microbes in the gut can do to arsenic before it is absorbed into the body.

In a new study, scientists used laboratory mice to sort out how some of these variables affect how the gut microbiome handles arsenic.

The findings could benefit communities where arsenic is found in the water supply, and the researchers hope they can one day mediate against toxin through probiotic or other microbiome therapies.

“This type of research is referred to as “systems biology” because the focus is on the outcome(s) of interacting, complex biological systems (e.g. host and microbiome). So, the first criterion for the research was to select a model that represented both host and microbiome. The second criterion was to select a host that represented humans as much as possible. The third criterion was to generate results that could be compared to previous studies in the field,” Seth Walk, associate professor in Montana State University’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology and senior author of the paper

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