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American Gut

American Gut

In association with the Human Food Project, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder along with researchers at other institutions around the world are launching a new open-access project known as “American Gut” in which participants can get involved in finding out what microbes are in their own guts and what they are doing in there.

The project builds on previous efforts, including the five-year, $173-million NIH-funded Human Microbiome Project, to characterize the microbes living in and on our bodies. But unlike other projects that have focused on carefully chosen test subjects with a few hundred people, this project allows the public to get involved and is encouraging tens of thousands of people to do so.

The American Gut project is an opportunity for the citizen scientists working with a team of leading researchers and labs throughout the United States to help shape a new way of understanding how diet and lifestyle may contribute to human health through each person’s suite of trillions of tiny microbes.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jeff Leach
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: founder of the Human Food Project and co-founder of American Gut
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: $20-$50
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Learn more about participating in or contributing to the project. For a list of additional collaborators on the project visit.

See more projects in $20-$50FieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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