San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) December 09, 2015
Leading microbial genomics company uBiome now predicts metabolic functions of the microbiome across 106 key dimensions. The new report indicates how effective an individual’s microbiome is at metabolizing vitamins, carbohydrates, and fatty acids as well as over a hundred other functions. For the first time, users can explore how their microbiome functions as well as the bacterial composition of the microbiome.
The microbiome plays an important, complex role in an individual’s health and wellbeing. Humans carry between three and six pounds of bacteria in and on their bodies. For comparison, three pounds is about the weight of a human brain. The average individual has around ten times as many bacteria cells as human cells. Bacteria assist in digestion and the synthesis of vitamins, but they can also be associated with health conditions such as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, heart conditions, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and skin conditions. They may also be connected with conditions such as anxiety and depression.
The human microbiome has been properly understood for a relatively short time, following a ground-breaking five-year $173 million endeavor run by the NIH Human Microbiome Project. uBiome’s revolutionary sequencing service builds on this work, enabling the company to cut the cost of microbiome sequencing from millions of dollars ten years ago to just $89 today.
Dr. Zachary Apte, CTO and co-founder of uBiome, explains that developing the new bacterial functions involved simplifying highly complex data. “Biological pathways are incredibly complicated. For instance, just one bacterial pathway map has more than three times more pathways than the entire New York subway map. The task of our data science team was to distill this information in such a way that it make sense to our users.”
uBiome was launched in 2012 by scientists and technologists educated at Stanford and UCSF after a crowdfunding campaign raised over $350,000 from citizen scientists, around triple the initial goal. The company is now funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, and other leading investors.
uBiome’s mission is to use big data to understand the human microbiome by giving users the power to learn about their bodies, perform experiments, and see how current research studies apply to them.