Review Article | Published:

Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota

Nature volume 489, pages 220230 (13 September 2012) | Download Citation

Abstract

Trillions of microbes inhabit the human intestine, forming a complex ecological community that influences normal physiology and susceptibility to disease through its collective metabolic activities and host interactions. Understanding the factors that underlie changes in the composition and function of the gut microbiota will aid in the design of therapies that target it. This goal is formidable. The gut microbiota is immensely diverse, varies between individuals and can fluctuate over time — especially during disease and early development. Viewing the microbiota from an ecological perspective could provide insight into how to promote health by targeting this microbial community in clinical treatments.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank L. Parfrey, J. Knight and A. Knight for their comments on this manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

    • Catherine A. Lozupone
    • , Jesse I. Stombaugh
    •  & Rob Knight
  2. Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

    • Jeffrey I. Gordon
  3. Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA

    • Janet K. Jansson
  4. Joint Genome Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Walnut Creek, California, USA

    • Janet K. Jansson
  5. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boulder, Colorado, USA

    • Rob Knight
  6. Biofrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

    • Rob Knight

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rob Knight.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11550

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