Bologna [Italy], February 5 (ANI): Neanderthals’ gut microbiota already included some beneficial micro-organisms that are also found in our own intestine, suggest the findings of a new study.
An international research group led by the University of Bologna achieved this result by extracting and analysing ancient DNA from 50,000-year-old faecal sediments sampled at the archaeological site of El Salt, near Alicante (Spain).
Published in Communication Biology, their paper puts forward the hypothesis of the existence of ancestral components of human microbiota that have been living in the human gastrointestinal tract since before the separation between the Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals that occurred more than 700,000 years ago.
“These results allow us to understand which components of the human gut microbiota are essential for our health, as they are integral elements of our biology also from an evolutionary point of view” explains Marco Candela, the professor of the Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology of the University of Bologna, who coordinated the study. “Nowadays there is a progressive reduction of our microbiota diversity due to the context of our modern life: this research group’s findings could guide us in devising diet- and lifestyle-tailored solutions to counteract this phenomenon”.
THE ISSUES OF THE “MODERN” MICROBIOTA
The gut microbiota is the collection of trillions of symbiont micro-organisms that populate our gastrointestinal tract. It represents an essential component of our biology and carries out important functions in our bodies, such as regulating our metabolism and immune system and protecting us from pathogenic micro-organisms.
Recent studies have shown how some features of modernity – such as the consumption of processed food, drug use, life in hyper-sanitized environments – lead to a critical reduction of biodiversity in the gut microbiota. This depletion is mainly due to the loss of a set of microorganisms referred to as “old friends”.
“The process of depletion of the gut microbiota in modern western urban populations could represent a significant wake-up call,” says Simone Rampelli, who is a researcher at the University of Bologna and first author of the study. “This depletion process would become particularly alarming if it involved the loss of those microbiota components that are crucial to our physiology”.
Indeed, there are some alarming signs. For example, in the West, we are witnessing a dramatic increase in cases of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.
HOW THE “ANCIENT” MICROBIOTA CAN HELP
How can we identify the components of the gut microbiota that are more important for our health? And how can we protect them with targeted solutions? This was the starting point behind the idea of identifying the ancestral traits of our microbiota – i.e. the core of the human gut microbiota, which has remained consistent throughout our evolutionary history. Technology nowadays allows to successfully rise to this challenge thanks to a new scientific field, paleomicrobiology, which studies ancient microorganisms from archaeological remains through DNA sequencing.
The research group analysed ancient DNA samples collected in El Salt (Spain), a site where many Neanderthals lived. To be more precise, they analysed the ancient DNA extracted from 50,000 years old sedimentary faeces (the oldest sample of faecal material available to date). In this way, they managed to piece together the composition of the micro-organisms populating the intestine of Neanderthals. By comparing the composition of the Neanderthals’ microbiota to ours, many similarities aroused.
“Through the analysis of ancient DNA, we were able to isolate a core of microorganisms shared with modern Homo sapiens”, explains Silvia Turroni, a researcher at the University of Bologna and first author of the study. “This finding allows us to state that these ancient micro-organisms populated the intestine of our species before the separation between Sapiens and Neanderthals, which occurred about 700,000 years ago”.
SAFEGUARDING THE MICROBIOTA
These ancestral components of the human gut microbiota include many well-known bacteria (among which Blautia, Dorea, Roseburia, Ruminococcus and Faecalibacterium) that are fundamental to our health. Indeed, by producing short-chain fatty acids from dietary fibre, these bacteria regulate our metabolic and immune balance. There is also the Bifidobacterium: a microorganism playing a key role in regulating our immune defences, especially in early childhood. Finally, in the Neanderthal gut microbiota, researchers identified some of those “old friends”. This confirms the researchers’ hypotheses about the ancestral nature of these components and their recent depletion in the human gut microbiota due to our modern life context.
“In the current modernisation scenario, in which there is a progressive reduction of microbiota diversity, this information could guide integrated diet- and lifestyle-tailored strategies to safeguard the micro-organisms that are fundamental to our health”, concludes Candela. “To this end, promoting lifestyles that are sustainable for our gut microbiota is of the utmost importance, as it will help maintain the configurations that are compatible with our biology”. (ANI)
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OSCARS ATTENDEES WILL NOT WEAR FACE MASKS DURING CEREMONY
WASHINGTON : The 2021 Oscars won’t make face masks a requirement during its live ceremony, which is scheduled to take place this Sunday.
As per Variety, the Academy is not asking Oscar attendees to wear face masks while cameras will rolling during the live ceremony. The news was announced on Monday morning during a Zoom meeting with Academy representatives and nominees, and studio and personal publicists. Because the ceremony—being held at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles—is being treated as a TV/film production, masks are not required for people on camera, an Academy staffer explained.
However, when guests are not on camera, they are being asked to wear masks. Oscars co- producer Steven Soderbergh remained mum on face-mask protocol during a press conference with co-producers Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher. He said on Saturday that masks would play “a very important role in the story”. “If that’s cryptic, it’s meant to be,” he added. “That topic is very central to the narrative.”
JESSICA BIEL OPENS UP ABOUT HER FAMILY LIFE WITH TIMBERLAKE
WASHINGTON: Hollywood star Jessica Biel, recently while making an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, opened up about her life at home with her husband Justin Timberlake and their two boys Silas and Phineas. According to E! News, Jessica and Justin are currently sleep training Phineas, which means spending a lot of time listening to a teething, crying baby. The couple had welcomed baby Phineas last summer after a private pregnancy. Jessica explained, “It’s so hard to let them cry for even a few minutes. That’s the sleep training we were doing. Phin did a beautiful job.”
She added, “We never really followed through with Silas in a big way with the sleep training. I think it was because he was a first child, we were nervous, we couldn’t bear the thought. Now it’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re going to be fine. You’re going to make it. You’ll be okay.’” When asked if having two kids is harder than one, Jessica confirmed that it’s definitely not easy. Biel joked, “A very wise friend of mine said, ‘One is a lot. And two is a thousand. That’s exactly the way it feels. You’re like, man-on-man defence, one person’s here, one person is over there. It is a wild, wild ride.”
AJAY DEVGN REVEALS HIS FIRST LOOK FROM DEBUT OTT SERIES
NEW DELHI: Foraying into the digital space, Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn on Tuesday announced his first-ever OTT project with crime-drama series Rudra: The Edge of Darkness set to stream on Disney+ Hotstar.
The show will reportedly be a remake of the Idris Elba-starrer hit British series Luther. Ajay took to his Instagram handle and shared the first look of his debut web series, along with the caption, “Happy to announce the crime thriller of the year Hotstar Specials ‘Rudra – The Edge Of Darkness’. This one’s going to be ‘killer’ @disneyplushotstarvip.”
In the first look of Rudra: The Edge Of Darkness, a silhouette of Ajay can be seen standing in front of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. The silhouette then turns frame by frame towards the screen, revealing Ajay’s face, as the title of the show appears before the viewers.
PRIYANKA EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER CURRENT COVID SITUATION IN INDIA
MUMBAI: As the number of Covid-19 cases is surging across the nation, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas on Tuesday expressed concern and urged people to stay at home. She took to Instagram Story and shared a post in which she stated that the ‘Covid-19 situation in India is grave.’
“The Covid 19 situation across India is grave. I’m seeing images and stories coming in from different parts of the country that are so scary… the situation is out of control and our medical fraternity is at a breaking point,” wrote Priyanka.
She added, “Please stay home…I beg you to stay home. Do it for yourself, your family, friends, neighbours, community, and also our frontline workers.”
Priyanka also shared a post lauding the vaccination drive to start the vaccination of people above the age of 18 years in India from 1 May.
AYUSHMANN OPENS UP ABOUT HIS ROLE IN ‘VICKY DONOR’core
NEW DELHI: Celebrating nine years of the hit Bollywood film Vicky Donor, actor Ayushmann Khurrana on Tuesday revealed how he felt about playing an unconventional hero in his debut movie.
Revealing that he was very jittery about the reaction audiences would have towards him as the film’s lead, Ayushmann said, “It’s been 9 years but it definitely seems like it happened yesterday. I can still feel the rush I felt on release day, nine years back. I was confident of the script but very jittery about the response that I would get from audiences as a lead actor.”
The actor then spoke about the support he got from his family and added, “I remember all the phone calls with my family and friends, how they kept telling me that audiences would welcome me because I have put in my best. I was an outsider just starting to write my own destiny and I was thrilled with the prospect of what life had in store for me. I owe so much to Vicky Donor.”
Ayushmann credited his director Shoojit Sircar for the fantastic debut that became a runaway success at the box office and said, “I owe everything to Shoojit Sircar for his vision and trust in me as an actor. I owe it to Ronnie Lahiri and Juhi Chaturvedi. It was a film that was trying to change the language of cinema in India and I’m so proud to have been a part of it.”
He currently has many projects in his kitty including Anek, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui and Doctor G.
DIESEL SET TO STAR IN MOVIE ADAPTATION OF ‘ROCK ‘EM SOCK ‘EM’ GAME
WASHINGTON: Popular toy company Mattel’s film division recently announced its plans to develop ‘Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em’, the tabletop game featuring battling robots, as a live-action movie featuring Hollywood star Vin Diesel. According to Variety, Diesel, whose production company One Race Films is working on the current project with Universal Pictures, said, “To take the classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em game, with Mattel as my partner, and align it with the kind of world-building, the franchise-making success we have had with Universal, is truly exciting.” Ryan Engle, who wrote the movie Rampage starring Dwayne Johnson and also Liam Neeson’s The Commuter, penned the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em screenplay. The story follows a father (Diesel) and son who form an unlikely bond with an advanced war machine. The role of Diesel’s character’s son has not been cast yet. Robbie Brenner, the executive producer of Mattel Films, said, “We are proud to bring this iconic piece of Mattel IP to life on the big screen with our tremendously talented partners Vin Diesel, One Race Films, and Universal.”
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