The Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Consortium is a group of 15 centers in North America and three in Europe that is committed to research focused on children with gastrointestinal inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. There is increasing evidence that normal bacteria that reside in the intestine may, in the genetically susceptible host trigger the development of intestinal inflammation. These billions of bacteria seem to be related to other autoimmune diseases as well. In the past two years, advances in technology have made it possible for the first time to characterize all the organisms living in the intestine. A recent study that included members of the Consortium discovered genes that are associated specifically with children who have these diseases.