Many diseases are thought to be linked to an imbalance in the microbial profile of the gut. For some, like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), allergies and autism, the specific disease mechanisms involved arepoorly understood. Studying the differences between gut microbiota inthe diseased state and in the rest of the population could provide crucial clues to the causes of disease.
The newly developed proprietary GA-map technology is based on sets of unique probes that are highly specific to their target groups of bacteria. Genetic Analysis AS is thereby taking a different approach than the more common in-depth analyses of a few samples. The GA-map microarray allows more than 200 samples to be processed per day. This allows routine and population based analysis not possible with alternative techniques.
In the evaluation screen, a team led by Professor Knut Rudi of Genetic Analysis used the GA-map microarray to model the abundance of gut bacteria in stool samples from infants between one day and two years old. Using the GA-map array, they could predict children’s ages simply by looking at the profile of their gut flora.
Dr. Morten Isaksen, CEO of Genetic Analysis AS comments: “We envisage GA-map as a platform technology that opens up a black box, where youcan see an overall map of the gut microbiota, which can then point youin different directions depending on the disease being studied. GA-mapcan also be used for monitoring ongoing changes in the patterns of a child’s microbiota that lead to diseases such as allergies, NEC andautism. This information can then be used to assist in disease intervention. “Looking further ahead, the technology could be used to develop intelligent treatments based on personalized medicine. How different food or drugs are metabolized can be affected by the gut microbiota. Therefore, the GA-map technology could also become importantfor the food and pharmaceutical industry.”