Ultra-deep sequencing of Hadza hunter-gatherers recovers vanishing gut microbes

Cell. 2023 Jul 6;186(14):3111-3124.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.05.046. Epub 2023 Jun 21.


The gut microbiome modulates immune and metabolic health. Human microbiome data are biased toward industrialized populations, limiting our understanding of non-industrialized microbiomes. Here, we performed ultra-deep metagenomic sequencing on 351 fecal samples from the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania and comparative populations in Nepal and California. We recovered 91,662 genomes of bacteria, archaea, bacteriophages, and eukaryotes, 44% of which are absent from existing unified datasets. We identified 124 gut-resident species vanishing in industrialized populations and highlighted distinct aspects of the Hadza gut microbiome related to in situ replication rates, signatures of selection, and strain sharing. Industrialized gut microbes were found to be enriched in genes associated with oxidative stress, possibly a result of microbiome adaptation to inflammatory processes. This unparalleled view of the Hadza gut microbiome provides a valuable resource, expands our understanding of microbes capable of colonizing the human gut, and clarifies the extensive perturbation induced by the industrialized lifestyle.

Keywords: Treponema succinifaciens; human gut microbiome; hunter-gatherer; industrialization; metagenomic assembly; metagenomic metaanalysis; metagenomics; strain sharing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Eukaryota
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / genetics
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Metagenome
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbiota*