Cells in the human body contain DNA. Each cell expresses, or turns on, a fraction of its genes in a process known as gene regulation. Genes can be expressed depending on your genetic history, your lifestyle, and your environment. Microbes are very small life forms such as bacteria that exist on or in the human body. The human microbiome is the full collection of genes of all of the microbes. In this study, we are interested in learning more about the relationship between your genes and your microbiome. The gut microbiome changes over time, but can also change when your diet changes or when your health in general changes. As a twin and a member of the WSTR, you can make a unique contribution to understanding the relationship between the gut microbiome and gene expression.
Eligible twin pairs are sent the collection materials to collect data at home. Data collection materials include three questionnaires, measuring waist circumference, using a soft brush to collect buccal (cheek) cells for epigenetic analysis, and collecting a stool sample for the gut microbiome analysis.