Genome sequencing is a laboratory process that can be performed with any full copy of DNA. Determining the DNA sequence of an organism can help reveal what each gene making up a genome does, how different genes interact, and how the various parts of the genome are coordinated. By breaking down the sequence, probiotics can be tested for safety and effectiveness, as well as the presence of undesirable traits such as deleterious genes, antibiotic-resistant genes, and plasmids. Sequencing essentially reveals everything there is to know about a bacterial strain.
First, genome sequencing helps identify any deleterious genes that may be present in a probiotic. Deleterious genes can cause health problems that compromise the capacity of afflicted individuals.
Breaking down the genomic sequence can also identify if the bacteria contains antibiotic-resistant genes. It is important that a supplemental probiotic NOT contain antibiotic-resistant genes. This may seem counterintuitive; shouldn’t you want your probiotic to survive in the gut? Of course. However, the fact is that gut bacteria can transfer genetic material among one another. The undesirable bacteria in the gut could acquire antibiotic-resistant genes from other, often harmless, bacteria. Because bacteria containing antibiotic-resistant genes do not respond to specific