Evolution of bacteria in the human gut in response to changing environments: An invisible player in the game of health

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2021 Jan 11;19:752-758. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2021.01.007. eCollection 2021.


Several factors in Western society, including widespread use of antibiotics, chronic inflammation, and loss of complex eukaryotic symbionts such as helminths, have a dramatic impact on the ecosystem of the gut, affecting the microbiota hosted there. In addition, reductions in dietary fiber are profoundly impactful on the microbiota, causing extensive destruction of the niche space that supports the normally diverse microbial community in the gut. Abundant evidence now supports the view that, following dramatic alterations in the gut ecosystem, microorganisms undergo rapid change via Darwinian evolution. Such evolutionary change creates functionally distinct bacteria that may potentially have properties of pathogens but yet are difficult to distinguish from their benign predecessors.

Publication types

  • Review