The Genome Complexity Conundrum

Posted On: March 4, 2018


By Ross Pelton, RPh, PhD, CCN

Human Genome Project, which ran from 1990 to 2003, resulted in the successful sequencing of the human genome. This was one of the greatest scientific achievements of all time.

One of the primary goals of the Human Genome Project was the expectation that sequencing the human genome would enable scientists to create cures for many of the chronic degenerative diseases that currently plague mankind. Unfortunately, this goal was a total failure. Sequencing the human genome has not resulted cures for any diseases. However, one of the greatest achievements resulting from the Human Genome Project was the development of incredible gene sequencing technology.

Sequencing the first human genome took 13 years and cost $13 billion. With today’s technology, genomes can be sequenced in one day for $100. The new high-speed genome sequencing technology enabled scientists to begin to sequence the genomes of bacteria in the human gastrointestinal tract.

After completion of the Human Genome Project, the government funded the Human Microbiome Project, which ran from 2007-2012. Up until this time, scientists could only study less than 1% of the bacteria in humans. Over 99% of the bacteria in the human GI tract are anaerobic, which means they die when they are exposed to oxygen. As scientists began using high-speed genetic sequencing machines to study the genomes of the other 99% of the human microbiome, a whole new level of understanding of life began to emerge.

When scientists sequenced the human genome, they discovered that humans have approximately 23,000 genes, which is a much smaller number than they expected to find. However, the common white rice plant has about 45,000 genes. This was the origin of the Genome Complexity Conundrum. Scientists were puzzled. If we humans are such complex, evolved beings, how is it that we have only 23,000 genes, but the common rice plant has nearly twice as many genes as humans?

Genes are made up of sequences of DNA, which are referred to as the blue print or instructions necessary to the creation and functioning of a human. Whereas we humans have 23,000 genes in the nucleus of each of our cells, scientists began to realize that the bacteria in our microbiome contain over 3.3 billion unique genes. Thus, over 99% of the gene pool in humans is the DNA of our bacteria. This provided the answer to the Genome Complexity Conundrum. Humans don’t require so many genes because the bacteria in our intestinal tract, referred to as our microbiome, contain an enormous amount of DNA that controls, regulates and directs a great deal of the activity and function in humans.

Scientists began to realize that we humans are not just the product of our human genes. Instead, we are a bacteria-controlled Superorganism. Scientists now realize that the bacteria in our microbiome, with their vast quantities of DNA, play a major role either directly or indirectly, in controlling how we develop and function as human beings. We are not just “us”…. we are “us” plus “them.”

The answer to the Genome Complexity Conundrum provides us with a deeper understanding of how incredibly important it is for each individual to create and maintain a healthy microbiome. A healthy microbiome consists of predominantly friendly probiotic bacteria.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics®

At Essential Formulas, we believe that Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are the best product to help people create and maintain a healthy microbiome. This is because Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are not a traditional probiotic product, but are instead, a fermented food product. All fermented foods contain probiotic bacteria. It is the bacteria that are responsible for the fermentation process.

Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are produced utilizing a multi-year fermentation production process. In this process, dozens of different types of foods are added to large fermentation vats along with twelve strains of probiotic bacteria. The bacteria then ferment and digest the food over a period of several years. During this time, the metabolic processes of the bacteria results in the production of a wide range of compounds we refer to as postbiotic metabolites.

Postbiotic metabolites are the compounds that provide a multitude of functions in the intestinal tract, which end up regulating a vast amount of activity throughout the entire body. For example, some postbiotic metabolites regulate the acid/base balance in the GI tract, some regulate digestion & absorption of nutrients, some are antioxidants while others provide anti-inflammatory activity, some are natural antibiotics that suppress pathological bacteria, others are neurotransmitters that communicate with the brain to regulate moods and emotions, others are nutrients such as B-vitamins, vitamin K and various amino acids, some are key regulators of immune function, others play key roles in detoxification, while others produce digestive enzymes.

It is the postbiotic metabolites that play critical roles in regulating a wide range of biological functions related to human health. This helps explain why Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics are so effective. Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics directly deliver postbiotic metabolites, which immediately go to work in multiple ways to reestablish a healthy microbiome and a healthy gastrointestinal tract. This is the Dr. Ohhira’s Difference!™