Enhanced Humans

Genetically Engineered Bacteria Could Help Tackle Obesity

  • For their current investigation, they chose to engineer a strain of the common gut bacterium E. coli that is prescribed as a digestive probiotic in Europe. They inserted genes for hunger-suppressing molecules called NAPEs, which are usually produced in the gut in response to feeding.
  • To test out these microbes, the scientists added them to the drinking water of mice fed a high fat diet and then compared them to control animals who were just given plain water. They found that the treated mice ate less than control mice, gained 15% less weight and did not develop diabetes.
  • Although these early results are promising, the researchers still have a long way to go. The treatment has only been tested in mice, and many more pre-clinical trials will be required before FDA approval for human studies will be granted.

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