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Stuffed or Starved? Evolutionary Plant Breeding Might Have the Answer

Science has recently begun associating the decline of biodiversity with the increase of inflammatory diseases. These range from inflammatory bowel disease, to ulcerative colitis, to cardiovascular disorders, to various liver diseases and to many types of cancer (1). This increase in the frequency of inflammatory diseases has been associated with a decrease in our immune defences (1). Even more recently, the microbiome – namely the complex of bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and protozoa that is in our intestine – sometimes called microbiota (2) – has been associated with our immune system and then with the possibility of contracting inflammatory diseases (3).

The microbiome, which weighs an average of two kilograms – consider that the human brain weighs an average of one and a half kilograms – plays a number of important functions, from the synthesis of vitamins and essential amino acids, to the breakdown of what has not been digested in the upper intestinal tract. Some of the products of these activities represent an important energy source for intestinal wall cells and contribute to intestinal immunity.

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