Human Microbiomes Reflect Life History
A new paper in Nature by Tao Ding and Pat Schloss (Microbiology & Immunology, U-M) reveals associations between types of microbiome and gender, breastfeeding and level of education.
Dynamics and associations of microbial community types across the human body
Using data from the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) and new information, Tao Ding and Pat Schloss defined bacterial community types for each of 18 body sites. They found there were strong associations between whether individuals had been breastfed as an infant, their gender, and their level of education with their community types at several body sites. They also found the compositions of the oral and gut microbiomes were different but predictive of each other, and that community types varied in stability. Understanding the diversity of community types and the mechanisms that result in an individual having a particular type or changing types, will allow use of their community types to assess disease risk and to personalize therapies (Nature 509, 357-360; 2014).