‘Citizen science’ fundraisers offer personal stool analysis
A pair of new fundraisers offer prospective donors the chance to find out “who’s in your gut” by analyzing stool samples or other bodily fluids in as part of open-sourced microbiome studies.
According to The Associated Press, the two projects, American Gut and uBiome are seeking people to contribute stool, oral or skin samples and, depending on how much one contributes, get a detailed analysis of their microbiome, the collective name for the 100 trillion microbes that live inside the human body.
“The more people we get, the more we can tell you about yourself and your microbiome,” Dr. Zachary Apte said in uBiome’s pitch video on the online fundraising site IndieGoGo. The stated goal for UBiome, which defined itself as “citizen science” in the pitch, is 2,000 participants worldwide, while American Gut is looking to get 10,000 people and pets from around the United States to compare with samples from abroad organizers have already collected.
The more donors give financially, the more analysis they receive from what they give physiologically. For example, a $99 donation to American Gut, which includes a fluid sample and dietary data, yields a certain level of RNA sequencing information. But the $320 “Microbes for Four” package gives recipients analysis of four such samples. And uBiome offers a $209 “Bowel Condition” package that includes information about the microbes in a donor’s gastrointestinal tract.
“We’re finally enabling people to realize the power and value of bacteria in our lives,” said American Gut microbiologist Jack Gilbert, who also works at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.
UBiome’s fundraising period ends Jan. 1, while American Gut’s expires Jan. 7. American Gut will also conduct free tests for people who can’t afford to sign up.
Collections for American Gut can be left at its own IndieGoGo page here. UBiome’s pitch video can be seen below.