The human microbiome: at the interface of health and disease

Nat Rev Genet. 2012 Mar 13;13(4):260-70. doi: 10.1038/nrg3182.


Interest in the role of the microbiome in human health has burgeoned over the past decade with the advent of new technologies for interrogating complex microbial communities. The large-scale dynamics of the microbiome can be described by many of the tools and observations used in the study of population ecology. Deciphering the metagenome and its aggregate genetic information can also be used to understand the functional properties of the microbial community. Both the microbiome and metagenome probably have important functions in health and disease; their exploration is a frontier in human genetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / etiology
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Genomics / methods
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / microbiology
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Metagenome*
  • Obesity / etiology