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Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is one variety of the genus Lactobacillus is one of the common active cultures found in yogurt and in the human gut. Scimat Scimat/Getty Images/Photo Researchers hide caption

itoggle caption Scimat Scimat/Getty Images/Photo Researchers

Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project at the University of Colorado in Boulder, works in the lab where the samples are processed. The American Gut Project hide caption

itoggle caption The American Gut Project

Sandra Lopez (left) and her dog, Coco, greet hospice nurse Heather Meyerend last fall. In the weeks before Lopez died, Meyerend stopped by weekly to check her physical health, pain levels and medications. Amy Pearl/WNYC hide caption

itoggle caption Amy Pearl/WNYC