Frequently Asked Questions

 

We want to help you have the best possible Biome360 experience. Please read these FAQs before contacting us. If your question still has not been answered, send us an email at support@biome360.com.

FOR CUSTOMERS

 
How can I contact you?  

Please contact us through email at support@biome360.com.

Do you ship outside the United States?  

Yes, we ship to nearly every country in the world and accept payment through major credit cards. Our kits are compliant with all International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations for exempt samples. You can return your sample via regular mail.

When can I expect my kit to arrive?  

Standard shipping on domestic orders will deliver your kit within 5-10 business days. For international orders, delivery can take several weeks. If you need your kit(s) earlier, please select an expedited shipping option when checking out.

How many tubes should I receive?  

Your kit includes a gut sample vial, a swab, return envelopes, and a spare tube in case you make a mistake, one of the tubes leaks, one of the tubes is contaminated, or one of the tubes break. You probably did get everything you need, but in case you did not or if you are not sure, just send us an email at support@biome360.com.

How long does my sample last?  

Biome360 tubes can be refrigerated for up to two years before taking your sample. Once you have taken your sample, the tubes can survive at room temperature for a month and can be refrigerated for up to two. However, it is best if you return your samples to us as quickly as possible for the most accurate results.

Should I activate my tube?  

Yes, we absolutely need you to activate your tube before sending us your samples. This way we know to whom we should send the results. Answering the questionnaire for your sample will greatly improve the value of information provided once we have sequenced your microbiome. We also need your authorization electronically before we can process your samples. You can do this by going to client dashboard and following the instructions there.

When I try to activate my tube, I am told it is an invalid activation code.  

Please email us at support@biome360.com and we will send you a new activation code immediately.

I am having a different problem activating my tube.  

If you have any other problems with activation, please update your version of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to the latest version. If you have an up-to-date browser and still have issues, contact us at support@biome360.com. We can then troubleshoot on our end if something is not working properly.

I can't find my sampling instructions.  

All the instructions are on the website when you activate your tube, as well as inside the flap on your sample kit. Visit client dashboard to find detailed instructions, including how long to swab for and what to do with your sample before sending it back to us. If you have trouble locating the instructions, we have provided them below:

Before you take your sample, activate your tube using the 9-digit code found on the collection tube.

Step 1: Remove the swab from the package. Be careful not to touch the tip of the swab with your fingers. Gently touch the tip of the swab to a used portion of toilet tissue.

Step 2: Lightly swirl the tip of the swab into the fecal matter. You will only need enough to change the color of the swab, probably a lot less than you think.

Step 3: Uncap the collection tube filled with liquid. Be careful not to spill the liquid. Dip the swab into the bottom of the tube and stir the swab into the bottom for 1 minute.

Step 4: Remove the swab and discard.

Step 5: Recap the collection tube and ship the sample to our lab in the enclosed return envelope.

Will my gut sample smell?  

No. Only a small sample is needed, and the swab goes into a neutralizing buffer solution in a closed container immediately.

I knocked over a tube/my dog chewed my swabs/I contaminated my sample!  

Our kits come with a spare tube and swab, so any mistake can be remedied by using the spare tube included. If you should need a replacement, just email us at support@biome360.com and we will send you one immediately.

When will I get my results?  

We begin sequencing samples as soon as we receive them, but it typically takes 4-6 weeks to process the samples and collect the results. Unfortunately, there are possibilities for delays due to unforeseen circumstances, so please do not make any plans that depend on your results being available at a specific time.

I moved. How do I update my address?  

Please update your address on your Dashboard under Settings.

How do I get the latest Biome360 news?  

We frequently post updates on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also join our mailing list. We welcome all feedback and strive to answer any questions. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas please send us an email at support@biome360.com.

My tube is leaking.  

Our kits come with a spare tube and swab, so any mistake can be remedied by using the spare tube included. If you should need a replacement, just email us at support@biome360.com and we will send you one immediately.

I did not receive my kit in the mail or it arrived damaged.  

Please email us at support@biome360.com. We will send you a replacement kit immediately.

What if I bought a Biome360 kit and did not use it. Can I get a refund?  

No, unfortunately at this time we do not offer refunds for unused kits.

Where can I find my activation number?  

The activation number is located on the collection tube.

What happens if my sample has failed?  

If your sample fails, we will immediately notify you via your Dashboard and send you a replacement kit.

How do I mail back my sample?  

For U.S. customers, recap the collection tube and ship the sample to our lab in the return envelope provided in your kit. For International customers, please mail your sample to 400 Pinnacle Way Suite 450, Norcross, GA 30071.

ABOUT OUR PROJECT

 
What is Biome360?  

Biome360 is a large-scale microbiome study that will aid in linking gut microbes to human health. Although additional research is needed, influencing intestinal microbiota with probiotics holds promise as potential treatment for restoring overall health. Our sequencing service provides you with the data, state-of-the-art scientific research, and tools to discover the microbial community residing in your gut and contribute to scientific advances.

We anticipate the knowledge we will gain will ultimately allow us to understand the relationship between our gut microbiome and overall health. Gathering this data is the first step to customized medicine based on each individual’s own physical characteristics and gut health.

How can you tell which bacteria are in my sample?  

Biome360 utilizes a 16S-sequencing on the Illumina Next Generation Sequencing platform to learn how many bacterial species you have residing in your gut. 16S is a ribosomal gene present in bacterial DNA, which makes it possible for us to classify bacteria all the way down to the genus level while filtering out any human genetic material.

We look at a section of DNA found only in bacteria. 16S-sequencing is the standard sequencing method generally used in microbiome studies.

What kind of results will I get?  

After analyzing your sample, you will learn more about the vast ecosystem residing in your body. Log in to www.Biome360.com and you will find detailed information on each of these bacteria—what their names are, how many of each kind there are, and what their functions are in the body.

You may find yourself curious to compare your results with the aggregate results of everyone who has done the test, and with specific groups of people. Do you want to look at how your microbiome compares to vegans, or smokers, or people on antibiotics? You can do that easily in your Dashboard.

It is important to understand that Biome360 is designed to be a tool for personal research and NOT a diagnostic tool. You will not find any predictions about your future health. In addition, your results will not diagnose any medical condition.

You will find a chance to better understand your microbiome, how you compare to others, and even how you compare to yourself over time. (For example, before and after going vegetarian or starting a new workout regimen.) You are contributing to advancements in research that may have incredible value for the future of human health and wellbeing in general.

I'm interested in doing a study. Would Biome360 be interested in collaborating?  

Yes. Our objective is to build a community around long-term sequencing of the human microbiome. We want to engage and involve you in the process. Please contact us at support@Biome360.com.

Can I sequence a child? A baby?  

Yes, your children can have their microbiome sequenced with parental permission. For children under age 18, a parent or guardian is required to sign a consent form to confirm they would like their child’s sample processed. Children over 13 are required to give assent to ensure they understand what microbiome sequencing and their participation in our study involves.

You can view the consent forms at:

Are my results anonymous and confidential?  

Yes. All samples are tracked by barcode and de-identified and coded on receipt at our lab. You will receive your barcode number upon activating your tube. Other sites will not have personally identifying information, nor will personally identifying information be released on the internet. Sequence data, diet information, and all other health information you provide will be checked for personally identifying details, which will be removed before release. All sequence data and de-identified information will be released on the internet and anyone will be able to access them. You might be identifiable from your data (e.g. if there is only one person with your condition where you live), as outlined on the consent form. If you have concerns about your identity, we recommend that you reconsider participating or you let us know about your concerns so that we can make your data less detailed before release (e.g. by coding geographic information only to the state level).

How do you ensure the privacy of your users' data?  

Your privacy is our top priority. From a technology standpoint to ensure the privacy of your identity, data, and results, we employ multiple layers of encryption and the highest levels of computer security. You control your data, and can choose whether or not you consent to having your data be anonymized and aggregated into our Biome360 research studies.

What type of sequencing do you do?  

Biome360 uses 16S-sequencing on the Illumina Next Generation Sequencing platform. 16S is a ribosomal gene present in bacterial DNA that makes it possible for us to classify bacteria at the genus (and sometimes species) level and filter out genetic material from humans and other organisms. This is the same sequencing method used in the bulk of past studies in this area, so it gives us the greatest ability to compare with past studies, making your data more relevant.

Can I participate even if I have disease or illness?  

Yes, anyone over 3 months of age can participate in the study. You can provide additional information as part of the survey you fill out online once you receive your sample kit at home. We encourage you to participate and enter information about your condition, as this will help us understand what the microbiome is associated with.

If I have taken antibiotics recently, can I still participate?  

Yes, but please let us know what specific antibiotics you took and when.

Can I sign my dog up?  

Yes.

My cat?  

Yes, most species of pets are fine (but please double check before sending by emailing us at support@biome360.com.

Is the Biome360 project sponsored or associated with any pharmaceutical company or the U.S. government?  

No. This is a private research project that will explore the variability of the gut microbiome of the public.

Will getting my gut microbiota sequenced diagnose disease?  

No. Diagnosis based on the microbiota is still in its early stages; although, this project may assist in developing future diagnoses due to its unprecedented scale. However, the information you receive should not be construed as medical advice.

Will Biome360 conduct any health-related analysis of gut microbiota?  

No. Biome360’s project will only determine the species of the microbiota of your gut. We will relate the composition of the microbiota to participant-supplied health information to identify promising leads for later studies, but the information we provide will not, at this stage of research, be useful in determining health status. Your individual benefit will be in contributing to basic knowledge about human-associated microbes and in a better understanding of what lives on and inside you (and how what you do affects it), not in actionable health information.

Are there any risks associated with the test?  

There are no risks other than those associated with routine daily activities.

Where are the samples processed?  

Samples are received, de-identified, and then processed in our lab near Atlanta.

 
Are the results of the Biome360 project going to be published?  

Yes. After providing each volunteer with their specific data, the research team will produce peer-reviewed papers from the project as well as presentations. However, under no circumstances will your personal information ever be tied to your results in any database or published format.