Current status and future promise of the human microbiome

Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2013 Jun;16(2):71-9. doi: 10.5223/pghn.2013.16.2.71. Epub 2013 Jun 30.


The human-associated microbiota is diverse, varies between individuals and body sites, and is important in human health. Microbes in human body play an essential role in immunity, health, and disease. The human microbiome has been studies using the advances of next-generation sequencing and its metagenomic applications. This has allowed investigation of the microbial composition in the human body, and identification of the functional genes expressed by this microbial community. The gut microbes have been found to be the most diverse and constitute the densest cell number in the human microbiota; thus, it has been studied more than other sites. Early results have indicated that the imbalances in gut microbiota are related to numerous disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer, diabetes, and atopy. Clinical therapy involving modulating of the microbiota, such as fecal transplantation, has been applied, and its effects investigated in some diseases. Human microbiome studies form part of human genome projects, and understanding gleaned from studies increase the possibility of various applications including personalized medicine.

Keywords: Human microbiome; Metagenome; Microbiota.

Publication types

  • Review