Social networks bring together people who have something in common, but one that recently launched only connects its members after looking deep inside each of them. Literally. The non-profit MyMicrobes makes it possible for people dealing with stomach or intestinal issues to anonymously share information, diet tips, and experiences.

MyMicrobes invites everyone to join, but it requires that they pay €1,451 (about $2,100) toward the cost of having bacteria from their gut identified and the genome sequenced. The researchers collect and study its member’s data to learn more about what goes on inside insides.

According to Nature, the research team has already found links between certain gut-specific genetic markers and obesity and other diseases, as well as helping volunteers connect with one another for mutual support and assistance. At least 5,000 participants are needed for the study to be statistically meaningful, the researchers said.

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Photo by flickr user Umberto Salvagnin, used under Creative Commons license