Host-bacterial mutualism in the human intestine

Fredrik Bäckhed, Ruth E. Ley, Justin L. Sonnenburg, Daniel A. Peterson, Jeffrey I. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2930 Scopus citations

Abstract

The distal human intestine represents an anaerobic bioreactor programmed with an enormous population of bacteria, dominated by relatively few divisions that are highly diverse at the strain/subspecies level. This microbiota and its collective genomes (microbiome) provide us with genetic and metabolic attributes we have not been required to evolve on our own, including the ability to harvest otherwise inaccessible nutrients. New studies are revealing how the gut microbiota has coevolved with us and how it manipulates and complements our biology in ways that are mutually beneficial. We are also starting to understand how certain keystone members of the microbiota operate to maintain the stability and functional adaptability of this microbial organ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1915-1920
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume307
Issue number5717
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 25 2005

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