Nature: Genomic variation landscape of the human gut microbiome

About a month ago, Nature published Genomic variation landscape of the human gut microbiome (Dec 5th, 2012). There are a few findings that are interesting:

“There were 88 individuals from the US cohort that were sampled at different time periods (~1 year) with no antibiotics in between. Looking at the composition and genomic variation of these gut microbiomes, the authors found that while species abundance changed over time within an individual, the variation patterns were remarkably stable. In other words, healthy individuals retained (for a long term) specific strains of microbiota. Also, there were no clear geographical differences between European and U.S. cohorts. All of this suggests that every human has a unique metagenomic profile that’s stable over time. Almost like a fingerprint…  Further, the low pN/pS ratio observed for genes related to type IV secretion systems suggests that interaction with the host’s immune system is under purifying selection, and maintaining genome plasticity (as well as antibiotic resistance) is essential for gut species..” Source, I recall reading elsewhere that gut bacteria was inherited/influenced by DNA…. the complexity of autoimmune disease thickens…

The interesting aspect is that over 929 species were identified in common…