A growing number of human gut microbiome studies consistently describe differences between human populations. Here, we review how factors related to host genetics, ethnicity, lifestyle, and geographic location help explain this variation. Studies from contrasting environmental scenarios point to diet and lifestyle as the most influential. The effect of human migration and displacement demonstrates how the microbiome adapts to newly adopted lifestyles and contributes to the profound biological and health consequences attributed to migration. This information strongly suggests against a universal scale for healthy or dysbiotic gut microbiomes, and prompts for additional microbiome population surveys, particularly from less industrialized nations. Considering these important differences will be critical for designing strategies to diagnose and restore dysbiosis in various human populations.
Keywords: dysbiosis; gut microbiome; human populations; microbial ecology; social determinants of health; socioeconomic status.
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