Brief Communication | Published:

Microbial ecology

Human gut microbes associated with obesity

Nature volume 444, pages 10221023 (21 December 2006) | Download Citation



Two groups of beneficial bacteria are dominant in the human gut, the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes. Here we show that the relative proportion of Bacteroidetes is decreased in obese people by comparison with lean people, and that this proportion increases with weight loss on two types of low-calorie diet. Our findings indicate that obesity has a microbial component, which might have potential therapeutic implications.

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Author information


  1. Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63108, USA

    • Ruth E. Ley
    • , Peter J. Turnbaugh
    • , Samuel Klein
    •  & Jeffrey I. Gordon


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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeffrey I. Gordon.

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