Your microbiota is SOOOO agnotobiotic

Cheap personal microbiomics will make the
human microbiota gnotobiotic!  It just rolls off the tongue (an
decreasingly agnotobiotic human organ).  Does all this verbage leave a bad taste in your mouth

Microbiota: The collection of micro-organisms in a particular environment, such as the human body, e.g. the human gut microbiota.

Microbiome: The collection of genetic material (all the genomes) in a particular microbiota.

Gnotobiotic: Describes a microbiota with a known set of micro-organisms.

Agnotobiotic: Describes a microbiota of unknown or poorly defined composition.

Here are some stats to cleanse your palate:

We are born relatively germ-free.  Its unknown the extent to which we acquire our microbiomes from family members, but this may be another type of genetic heritability.  In this case, genetics is definitely not destiny.  We will increasingly be learning how to "reprogram" our microbiomes. 

Microbiota management, flora farming, bug doping. Oh My!

Additional reading and references below the jump.

Tabitha M. Powledge. Microbes do vital work in the human gut. The Scientist. 2nd June 2006.

Human-Microbe Interaction at the University of Wisconsin.  Especially, The Normal Human Flora.

Ruth Ley et al. Ecological and Evolutionary Forces Shaping Microbial
Diversity in the Human Intestine
. Cell 124, 837–848, February 24, 2006.
(sorry subscribers only)

Eckburg PB et al. Diversity of the human intestinal microbial flora. Science, June 10, 2005. (sorry subscribers only, see the manuscript)

Clayton T.A. et al. Pharmaco-metabonomic phenotyping and personalized drug treatment. Nature, April 20 2006. (sorry subscribers only)

SR Gill, et al, Metagenomic analysis of the human distal gut microbiome. Science, June 2, 2006. (sorry subscribers only)

The Human Gut Microbiome Initiative (PDF)

American Academy of Microbiology. "Probiotic Microbes: The Scientific Basis," June 2006. (PDF)



2 Responses to “Your microbiota is SOOOO agnotobiotic”

  1. Y. Winogradsky on June 16th, 2008 10:05 am

    The European Project MetaHIT (Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract) gathers 12 European research institutes and a Chinese Partner and aims at the characterisation of the human intestinal metagenome. The official website is available at:

  2. Trackbacks on April 19th, 2019 8:05 pm

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