Location: Children's Nutrition Research CenterTitle: Human gut microbiome viewed across age and geography Author
Submitted to: Nature
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2012
Publication Date: 6/14/2012
Citation: Yatsunenko, T., Rey, F.E., Manary, M.J., Trehan, I., Dominquez-Bello, M.G., Contreras, M., Magris, M., Hidalgo, G., Baldassano, R.N., Anokhin, A.P., Heath, A.C., Warner, B., Reeder, J., Kuczynski, J., Caporaso, J.G., Lozupone, C.A., Lauber, C., Clemente, J.C., Knights, D., Knight, R., Gordon, J.I. 2012. Human gut microbiome viewed across age and geography. Nature. 486(7402):222-227. Interpretive Summary: How do gut microbiomes evolve within a lifespan, vary between populations, and respond to changing lifestyles? Fecal samples were obtained from individuals in Venezuela, Malawi, and the United States. Shared features of the gut microbiome were identified in the first three years of life in all three populations, and notable differences were detected between U.S residents and those in the other two countries in early infancy as well as adulthood. This shows that consideration must be given to the microbiome when evaluating human development, nutrition, and global policies.
Technical Abstract: Gut microbial communities represent one source of human genetic and metabolic diversity. To examine how gut microbiomes differ among human populations, we characterized bacterial species in fecal samples from 531 individuals, plus the gene content of 110 of them. The cohort encompassed healthy children and adults from the Amazonas of Venezuela, rural Malawi, and US metropolitan areas, and included mono- and dizygotic twins. Shared features of the functional maturation of the gut microbiome were identified during the first three years of life in all three populations, including age-associated changes in the genes involved in vitamin biosynthesis and metabolism. Pronounced differences in bacterial assemblages and functional gene repertoires were noted between US residents and those in the other two countries. These distinctive features are evident in early infancy as well as adulthood. Our findings underscore the need to consider the microbiome when evaluating human development, nutritional needs, physiological variations, and the impact of westernization.