WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. and SAN DIEGO, Feb. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Microsetta Initiative, a research project led by a team at the University of California, San Diego in partnership with Danone Nutricia Research — the research and innovation division of Danone North America’s global parent company, Danone S.A. — is recruiting hundreds of U.S. citizen scientists to map their gut microbiome. Participants in the program will have the opportunity to get their microbiome sequenced, at no personal charge, and will receive a free report. This is the first phase of an unprecedented program to map the gut microbiome of people around the world.
The gut microbiome — the trillions of bacteria living in the gut — is considered the next frontier in health and wellbeing. This research program, known as “The Human Diets & Microbiome Initiative” (THDMI) aims to discover the best diets and foods on the planet that can nourish the Gutties of the world using the latest sequencing technology, such as shotgun metagenomic sequencing. This technique enables THDMI scientists to comprehensively sample the genes of all organisms present in the gut microbiome, evaluate bacterial diversity and detect the abundance of microbes in the gut. Shotgun metagenomics will also provide means to study unculturable microorganisms that are otherwise difficult or impossible to analyze.
“Today, the gut is increasingly recognized as a cornerstone of health. Unfortunately, our modern lifestyles are impacting our gut and eroding the foundation of our wellness. Our diets are too often lacking in foods that feed our gut microbiomes such as fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods that provide key nutrients and substances like fibers, probiotics, and prebiotics,” said Miguel Freitas, Ph.D., Vice President of Scientific Affairs for Danone North America. “As a leader in fermented foods and probiotics, our global parent company and the team at Danone Nutricia Research are deeply committed to gaining an even deeper understanding of gut health. This research has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people, and is consistent with our global ambition to bring health through food to as many people as possible.”
Professor Rob Knight, Faculty Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at University of California San Diego and the leader of the Microsetta Initiative added: “With the support of citizen scientists and the structure of the Microsetta Initiative, THDMI is employing cutting-edge metagenomic techniques and using the latest shotgun sequencing technology to map the gut microbiome, providing a deeper level of analysis than is typically performed for this type of project. In addition, THDMI will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between the diets and gut health of thousands of people around the world. This project is unlike anything of its kind in terms of the breadth of our research, especially when integrated with the Earth Microbiome Project, which will add an environment angle to this project— it’s very exciting!”
With the help of an animated character called Gutty, representing the gut microbiome, the initiative will recruit hundreds of citizen scientists across the United States. After the U.S., the study will be extended to other countries to create a global map of the gut microbiome across diverse ethnicities and diets.
To take part in this exciting citizen science initiative, participants will test their microbiome and complete a questionnaire about their diet and lifestyle. Each participant will learn how their gut microbiome compares to other people, and most importantly, how diet and lifestyle may shape their gut microbiome.
About Danone North America
Danone North America is a purpose-driven company with a portfolio of dairy and plant-based foods. As the world’s largest Certified B Corporation®, Danone North America is committed to the creation of both economic and social value, while nurturing natural ecosystems through sustainable agriculture. Our portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, Good PlantsTM, Horizon Organic®, International Delight®, Light + Fit®, Oikos®, Silk®, So Delicious® Dairy-Free, STōK®, Two GoodTM, Vega®, Wallaby® Organic, and YoCrunch®. With more than 6,000 employees and 13 production locations across the U.S., our mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, visit www.danonenorthamerica.com. For more information on Danone North America’s B Corp™ status, visit: https://bcorporation.net/directory/danone-north-america.
About Danone Nutricia Research
Danone S.A. is a multinational food and beverage corporation headquartered in Paris, France, with four different product categories: Essential Dairy and Plant-based Products, Waters, Early Life Nutrition, and Advanced Medical Nutrition, and employs over 110,000 people worldwide. Danone Nutricia Research, the Research and Innovation organization within Danone, is at the heart of Danone’s strategy: innovating to bring health through food to as many people as possible.
Worldwide Danone Nutricia Research builds bridges between science and food according to our company vision “One Planet, One Health”. Our teams of 1,700 R&I employees work from 2 main research centers in France & Netherlands & 6 specialized centers (France, Spain, Russia, USA, Singapore, and China) and in 55 Business units. They partner with recognized scientific communities, suppliers and innovators and through these collaborations, create unique consumer experiences and bring health and well-being at every stage in life.
SOURCE Danone North America