Saturday, September 24, 2022

Humans Evolved with the Bacteria in their Stomachs

Scientists have discovered that species of bacteria in human stomachs may have had some influence on human evolution. Most bacteria in human stomachs are similar, but there are some species that show the differences in some human populations.  Scientists have tested for codiversification by collecting samples from people around the world and comparing them. As early humans spread out across the world, there were different sources of food that humans had to acclimate themselves to. Phylogenies were created to understand how people of different regions and the microbes in their stomachs are related. The scientists were able to trace people with relatives in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Codiversification occurs in organisms that live in symbiotic relationships. A symbiotic  relationship occurs between very different organisms. There are three main examples of symbiotic relationships, which are mutualism, commensalism, and parasitic relationships. Mutualistic relationships are when both organisms benefit, commensalistic relationships are when one organism benefits and the other is not affected, and parasitic relationships are when one organism benefits and the other is negatively affected. Humans and the species of bacteria in our stomachs is a mutualistic relationship because humans are able to digest their food and the bacteria have a habitat and a food source. 

I think that it is good that scientists are finding other ways to trace the origins of humankind. It is difficult and expensive to dig to find skeletons and other things that give answers to questions about the origin of humans. Other scientists have commented on this new information and they have made the point that the relationship between humans and their bacteria could create microbiome treatments specific to a population of people based on their ancestry. Personalized medications could help patients that experience issues with their stomachs, since every patient is different and could react differently to generic medicines. The reason that stomach medications might not always work is most likely because of the diversity of the species of bacteria in every person’s stomach. 

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