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Structure, function and diversity of the healthy human microbiome.

Nature | Jun 13, 2012

Studies of the human microbiome have revealed that even healthy individuals differ remarkably in the microbes that occupy habitats such as the gut, skin and vagina. Much of this diversity remains unexplained, although diet, environment, host genetics and early microbial exposure have all been implicated. Accordingly, to characterize the ecology of human-associated microbial communities, the Human Microbiome Project has analysed the largest cohort and set of distinct, clinically relevant body habitats so far. We found the diversity and abundance of each habitat's signature microbes to vary widely even among healthy subjects, with strong niche specialization both within and among individuals. The project encountered an estimated 81-99% of the genera, enzyme families and community configurations occupied by the healthy Western microbiome. Metagenomic carriage of metabolic pathways was stable among individuals despite variation in community structure, and ethnic/racial background proved to be one of the strongest associations of both pathways and microbes with clinical metadata. These results thus delineate the range of structural and functional configurations normal in the microbial communities of a healthy population, enabling future characterization of the epidemiology, ecology and translational applications of the human microbiome.

Pubmed ID: 22699609 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Adolescent | Adult | Bacteria | Biodiversity | Ecosystem | Female | Health | Humans | Male | Metabolic Networks and Pathways | Metagenome | Metagenomics | Phenotype | RNA, Ribosomal, 16S | Young Adult

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: N01HG62088
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004857
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54 HG004973
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: U01DE016937
  • Agency: NIAMS NIH HHS, Id: UH2 AR057504
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54HG004969
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: T32 AI007528
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004856
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004908
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54 HG003067
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54HG003273
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004877
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: P30DE020751
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R21HG005811
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004900
  • Agency: NIH HHS, Id: DP2OD001500
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004885
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004872
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004856
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG005171
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: UH3AI083263
  • Agency: NIAMS NIH HHS, Id: UH2 AR057506
  • Agency: NIAMS NIH HHS, Id: UH2AR057504
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U01HG004866
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54HG003067
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: U54 AI084844
  • Agency: NIAMS NIH HHS, Id: UH3AR057504
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54 HG003273
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: UH2AI083263
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U01 HG004866
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: U54AI084844
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG005975
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: R37 DE016937
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: UH3 DK083993
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: R01DE021574
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004885
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54 HG004968
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54HG004973
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004857
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: UH2 AI083263
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG005171
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: T32AI007528
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004906
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54HG003079
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: R01 DE021574
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: RC1 DE020298
  • Agency: NIH HHS, Id: DP2 OD001500
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG005172
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: UH3DK083993
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004908
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004872
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: R21 CA139193
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG005975
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: U01 DE016937
  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id: R01 HG005969
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R21CA139193
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: R21 HG005811
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: U54 HG003079
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004853
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: N01AI30071
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: U54 HG004969
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004853
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: UH3 AI083263
  • Agency: NIAID NIH HHS, Id: UH2DK083990
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: U54HG004968
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: RC1DE0202098
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004906
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01HG005969
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG004877
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: P30 DE020751
  • Agency: NIDCR NIH HHS, Id: R01 HG005172
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: UH2AR057506
  • Agency: NIAMS NIH HHS, Id: R01HG004900
  • Agency: NHGRI NIH HHS, Id: UH2 DK083990
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id:

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