Our microbial selves: what ecology can teach us

We suggest a foundation in traditional ecological theory that will provide a deeper understanding of the human microbiome,

Antonio Gonzalez; Jose C Clemente; Ashley Shade; Jessica L Metcalf; Sejin Song; Bharath Prithiviraj; Brent E Palmer; Rob Knight

2011

Scholarcy highlights

  • Microbial cells outnumber human host cells by up to one order of magnitude; it is unsurprising that these symbionts have an important role in human health
  • Changes in the gut microbial community are linked to metabolic disorders, obesity
  • Efforts are under way to further understand and characterize the human-associated microbiota—the collection of microbes that inhabit us—and its microbiome—the collection of genes in these organisms—through international projects such as the Human Microbiome Project of the National Institutes of Health, the Metagenomics of the Human IntestinalTract initiative, and the European-Union-fundedTORNADO project
  • Microbial community dynamics have been charac­ terized in time-series data from several environments, including the human body, oceans, lakes and soils
  • The spatial and temporal characterization of the microbiota in different populations, in particular, has provided deeper insights into the dynamics of commensal bacteria and their resistance and resilience to perturbations in the human body

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