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Gut Bacteria Often Similar in Humans, Chimps: Study

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Humans and chimpanzees have much in common, biologically speaking, and that may now include certain communities -- or ecosystems -- of gut bacteria, a new study finds.

Gut bacteria play a crucial role in collecting nutrients from food, helping the immune system and protecting people against disease-causing viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms.

Yale University researchers have been investigating why gut bacteria organize themselves into three distinct communities called enterotypes. Each person seems to have one of the three enterotypes in their gut, but some scientists have suggested that enterotypes may merely be the product of different types of diets.

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