American Gut
$1,754,143 raised
11476 contributors
5 Years running
World's largest open-source science project to understand the microbial diversity of the Human Gut. Learn which microbes live in your gut, skin & mouth. Join over 10,000 people, get a home sampling kit and support the research.

The Human Microbiome Project and other microbiome projects worldwide have laid an important foundation for understanding the trillions of microbes that inhabit our bodies and their impact on health and disease. However, opportunities for the public to get involved in such research have been limited. Now, American Gut gives you an opportunity to join this research project and learn what’s living on and inside you.

American Gut is a project built on the open-source, open-access principles of the Earth Microbiome Project. The data we collect is de-identified and then deposited into open repositories for the benefit of other researchers and scientists.  By participating in our project, you can help contribute to research that will help the world understand how the microbiome affects our health. In exchange for your participation, we generate a report summarizing the types of microbes observed in your sample, and how your sample relates to other people in the study.

While American Gut mainly focuses on the gut as this is where most of our microbes reside, we will also look at areas like the oral and skin, as these areas of the body also contain microorganisms.

The American Gut Project is a part of the Microsetta Initiative, with the goal of collecting microbiome samples and rich phenotypic data from populations across the globe.

Some examples of what we have found using our data:

Younger children tend to have more proteobacteria composing their microbiome.  As you grow older, the diversity of your microbiome increases.
(Based off our preliminary findings in 2014, found
here)

There’s a significant difference between the types of bacteria found in industrialized populations vs. non-industrialized populations.
McDonald et al. mSystems . May 2018. DOI: 10.1128/mSystems.00031-18

Joining is simple! Select the kit you would like from the list of options on the right-hand side by clicking “Claim this perk” (if you would like to receive a certain number of kits that isn’t listed as a perk, email us at info@americangut.org). Your kit will arrive via USPS within 2 weeks after payment, unless you have added the “Priority Shipping” perk along with your kit.

If You Live in Europe: Visit our sister site, British Gut, to join.

If You Live in Australia or Singapore: While we do have sites set up in Australia and Singapore (known as Australian Gut and Asian Gut respectively), we ask that participants contribute an additional $25 on top of their contribution, which covers an international shipping fee . These sites allow participants to send their samples back to a local site, which then sends the samples back to our lab in the U.S. to reduce the costs of shipping.

If you live in Australia or Singapore and would like to participate, claim a perk.  The next page will have an option to "top off" your contribution with an additional amount, which you will use to add in the $25 to mark your kit to go out. I f you do not include the $25 shipping fee, your kit will not be sent out until we have received it.

Once we have received your transaction, we will forward your information to our collaborators. They will then send out a kit to you, which you will receive within 3 weeks .

Please note that the  r eturn time for results will take significantly longer than the expected 3 months for Australian/Asian Gut participants. The reason is that we have to bulk ship samples on dry ice back to our lab at UC San Diego.  This costs thousands of dollars per shipment, so it’s only feasible to do once enough samples are ready to ship.

If You Live Anywhere Else: International participants are also welcome to join. The $25 international shipping fee also applies (which you must include in your contribution), along with other regulations.  I f you do not include the $25 shipping fee, your kit will not be sent out until we have received it.

We also ask that samples are shipped back to our lab within 48 hours of being collected. The cost of expedited shipping to our lab in the U.S. from some locations can be expensive , so it is also recommended that you look into the cost of return shipping (we recommend using FedEx as it is more reliable).

If you are interested in learning the process of our project from start to finish, we have a video available here.

Each kit contains a sample tube (or more, if ordered), an instruction manual on how to register your kit and take a sample, credentials to access our participant website, and return envelope(s) to send your sample back.

Your results will provide a general overview of how your microbial profile compares to other participants ( these results are not intended to be medically actionable, and we cannot provide any personalized interpretation ). You will also receive a list of the microorganisms found in your sample and their relative abundances (based at the genus level).  Results are uploaded via our participant website, which you will get access to once you register your kit.

  1. For stool samples, it will take about 3 months for you to receive your results, and longer for those who are participating outside the U.S. (due to shipping procedures to send samples back to our lab, which is based at the University of California San Diego).  It takes approximately 4-5 months to receive results if you submit one of the following sample types: Oral, skin, animal, and environmental samples .

  2. A desktop computer or laptop is recommended to register and log your sample into our participant portal website, as our participant website has compatibility issues on mobile devices and tablets.  The best browser to use when you register your kit is Google Chrome .

  3. Note that your de-identified information will be part of a research study and will be made available in a publicly available research database. That is, any personal information that might easily identify who you are will be removed before being placed in the public database.

  4. If you decide that you no longer wish to continue in this study, please send a request to the American Gut Project help account ( info@americangut.org ) to inform us of your intent to withdraw. You may request a refund within 50 days of your original payment if you have not yet used your kit. Please note that the Fundrazr transaction fee will be deducted from your refund.

  5. The consent forms are maintained on the participant website; details are included in your kit. To sign the consent form, you must agree to use an electronic format for your signature in accordance with the United States' eSIGN Act and California's UETA Act. You have the right to obtain the electronic record in a non-electronic form.

  6. The results you receive from submitting a sample are not meant to act as medical or health diagnoses . We will not be able to provide any clinical or medical information and recommendations from your results.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at info@americangut.org.

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Perks

$99 USD
Find Out Who’s In Your Gut
  • 6531 claimed
The ribosome is the factory that makes proteins and is found in all cells, and fascinatingly it is mostly made of RNA. One RNA subunit, called the 16S rRNA, is especially effective as a barcode for understanding which microbes (specifically, bacteria and archaea) are found in a given sample. This Perk includes DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing of one stool sample (or an oral or skin sample – the same kit works for any of these), and shows which bacteria and archaea were present in that sample, along with how much of each kind. You will be able to view, download and print a high-resolution certificate suitable for framing of your results and access to more detailed taxa report of your results - which can be viewed online and downloaded into Excel.
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$5 USD
Fundraising - Down Syndrome Cohort
Funds for this perk go toward supporting a microbiome investigation into Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is the most common human chromosomal condition, yet is one of the least studied in the microbiome world. Down Syndrome is associated with many comorbidities, including Celiac Disease, chronic constipation, congenital heart disease, hypotonia, hyperthyroidism, and many others. The microbiome of individuals affected by Down Syndrome is not well understood. Many of these comorbidities can be treated, and alleviate some of the symptoms that individuals who have Down Syndrome may experience. This would help fund an incredible opportunity of diving deeper into Down Syndrome scientific research, especially to find improved public health recommendations for this population.

If you have a child who has Down Syndrome and want to have them considered for a FREE gut microbiota analysis, please contact our help account at info@americangut.org.
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$6.45 USD
USPS Priority Mail Shipping
  • 1237 claimed
Get your kits faster with two day USPS Priority Shipping by adding this perk to your order. Only valid for U.S. orders.
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$17 USD
American Gut T-Shirt
  • 37 claimed
Show your support for microbiome research with these quirky (and really awesome) American Gut t-shirts! These limited quantity shirts are made of 100% polyester. Priority USPS shipping is included with all U.S. orders.

Please email your shirt size to info@americangut.org. Available sizes are S through XL.
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$75 USD
ASD-Cohort Parent
  • 123 claimed
This Perk is only available for the parent of a child who has been enrolled in American Gut's "ASD-Cohort" study. Note the Perk is for ONE swab/kit. If both parents want to enroll, multiply by 2. The reduced Perk rate is made possible by a generous grant. Please email info@americangut.org if you have a child with ASD and want to have them considered for a FREE gut microbiota analysis (this must be done before claiming this Perk).

This offer is only available for participants in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada (international shipping fee still applies).
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$99 USD
What did you smear on research grade paper?
  • 44 claimed
  • 56 remaining
EXPERIMENTAL: Test a new device for sampling. Includes both 16S and shotgun sequencing!

Instead of a swab for sampling we will send you a kit with a swab and an FTA card (similar to the card your doctor uses to look for occult blood in stool). Both the swab and the card will be sequenced. This Perk includes DNA extraction, 16S rRNA sequencing, and shallow shotgun sequencing of the stool sample and shows which bacteria and archaea were present in that sample, along with how much of each kind. You will be able to view, download and print a high-resolution certificate suitable for framing of your results and access to more detailed taxa report of your results - which can be viewed online and downloaded into Excel. We will retain the residual stool material to use in future studies and development of new methods for testing samples.

Please note these orders will not be shipped until we have reached the quantity limit. This perk is only available in the U.S. as well.
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$129 USD
You Plus The World
  • 576 claimed
This is two kits: 1 for you and one for someone from either Africa, South America or Asia. Your support of this Perk will allow us to sequence more people from around the world as part of our ongoing research. DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing of one stool sample (or an oral or skin sample - the same kit works for any of these).
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$180 USD
Microbes For Two: See What You’re Sharing
  • 2149 claimed
DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing of two stool samples, e.g. couples, father/son, mother/daughter, you and your dog (or, one stool and say an oral sample – it's up to you – mix and match how you like). You'll be able to view, download and print a high-resolution certificate suitable for framing of your results and access to more detailed taxa report of your results - which can be viewed online and downloaded into Excel.
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$260 USD
Microbes For Three
  • 490 claimed
DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing of three stool samples if there are three of you in your home (or, two stools and an oral sample or one stool, one oral and one skin – it's up to you – mix and match how you like). You'll be able to view, download and print a high-resolution certificate suitable for framing of your results and access to more detailed taxa report of your results - which can be viewed online and downloaded into Excel.
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$320 USD
Microbes For Four
  • 471 claimed
DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing of four stool samples if there are four of you in your home (or, two stools and two oral samples, or two stools and one oral and one skin). It’s up to you – mix and match, you get the idea. You'll be able to view, download and print a high-resolution certificate suitable for framing of your results and access to more detailed taxa report of your results - which can be viewed online and downloaded into Excel.
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$500 USD
A Week Of Feces
  • 53 claimed
(you heard us!) DNA extraction and 16S rRNA sequencing of up to 7 samples. With this perk, you can collect a stool sample every day of the week (or spread them out over time) and send to us, along with your detailed dietary information etc. See how your New Year’s resolution changed your gut microbes! Or see how much those antibiotics you took for a sniffle affected you. Or your travel to Mexico, where you drank the water. Our microbes change a lot over our lives, but what affects them the most remains largely a mystery.
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$1,500 USD
All In The Family
  • 9 claimed
  • 0 remaining
Shallow shotgun metagenomic analysis of up to four fecal samples (furry family members also ok), including mapping to reference genomes and comparing profiles of genetic similarities and differences among different family members. Shallow shotgun metagenomics means instead of using the 16S rRNA as a marker gene, we fragment all the DNA in the sample, grind it up, sequence it in small pieces, and try to figure out what it is afterwards. The bad news is that much of this information is still mysterious because we don’t know the complete genomes of most of the microbes in there, but the good news is that you can get an insight into the gene functions, not just which microbes are there.
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$2,500 USD
Beyond Bacteria
  • 27 claimed
  • 0 remaining
Deeper shotgun metagenome and virome characterization of one sample, plus additional marker gene sequencing (16S rRNA, 18S rRNA and ITS, for you sequencing wonks) to characterize not just the bacteria but also the viruses, microbial eukaryotes (like giardia), and fungi in your gut. This Perk allows you to see everything, not just the bacteria, that’s in there. 18S rRNA is similar to 16S rRNA but for eukaryotes (like us); ITS is the internally transcribed spacer, a very fast-evolving region that lets you see very detailed information about the species that are there.
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$3,750 USD
Functional Feces
  • 3 claimed
  • 0 remaining
Deeper shotgun metagenomic characterization of up to 7 stool samples, providing an analysis of the variability of functions over time. This could be a great opportunity to see if fasting or extreme diet has an effect on your microbes! We would recommend doing this as a timeseries, either daily, weekly or monthly, to track how you’re doing when you travel or when you change your diet (those New Year’s resolutions again!)
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$5,000 USD
A Genome From Your Gut
  • 1 claimed
  • 0 remaining
Deep characterization of a single stool sample by shotgun metagenomics, includes best-effort attempt to assemble one or more bacterial genomes out of your gut. You will get a framed poster of the assembled genome showing differences to its close relatives. Only serious need inquire – please email info@amergicangut.org to express your interest before signing up for this one.
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$15,000 USD
What Are They Actually Doing
  • 1 claimed
  • 0 remaining
RNA expression profiling of up to five samples, which tells you not only who is in your gut but what genes they have turned on. Ideal for seeing responses to probiotic yogurt or other short-term dietary changes! RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is primarily used as the messenger in the cell transmitting DNA to protein: looking at the RNA therefore tells you which genes are switched on, which often happens at much faster time scales than change in the genes or species that are in your gut but can have huge functional consequences in terms of producing metabolites that could affect health. Only serious need inquire – please email info@amergicangut.org to express your interest before signing up for this one.
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$25,000 USD
Hundreds Of Genomes From Your Gut
  • 0 claimed
  • 0 remaining
Be among the first in the world to get the most detailed map of your gut microbiome and help us push the state-of-the-art in high-throughput sequence technology of microbial communities. We will perform ultra-deep sequencing of your microbiome sample aimed at generating as many individual bacterial genomes as possible (we can’t tell you how because the details of the technique are still under wraps prior to publication). Only serious need inquire – please email info@amergicangut.org to express your interest before signing up for this one.
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Show Discontinued Perks
$99 USD
You, a bucket, and science of the future
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