Food and Behaviour Research

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02 December 2014 - MNT - 'Friendly viruses' as beneficial to gut health as 'friendly bacteria'

Researchers believe they have found the first strong indication that the gut is a natural home to viruses that are as helpful as "friendly bacteria" in maintaining health and keeping infection at bay.

The human body carries thousands of species of bacteria - collectively known as the "microbiome" - that we now know are essential to health. The highest diversity and concentration of these is found in the gastrointestinal tract or the gut.

Now, in the journal Nature, microbiologists at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, NY, describe how they discovered evidence in mice of what they call the "virome" - and how it plays a role in gut health similar to that of the microbiome.