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Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota

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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Figure 1: Maintaining our gut microbial lawn.
Figure 2: Tools for evaluating microbiota diversity.
Figure 3: Diversity of the human microbiota at different phylogenetic scales.
Figure 4: Functional redundancy.
Figure 5: Human microbial diversity and enterotypes.
Figure 6: Compositional transitions in the human gut microbiota.

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Acknowledgements

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

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Lozupone, C., Stombaugh, J., Gordon, J. et al. Diversity, stability and resilience of the human gut microbiota. Nature 489, 220–230 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature11550

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