home Building science New paper of potential interest on economic development and the human microbiome

New paper of potential interest on economic development and the human microbiome

There is a new paper out of possible interest.

Source: Stagaman K, Cepon-Robins TJ, Liebert MA, Gildner TE, Urlacher SS, Madimenos FC, Guillemin K, Snodgrass JJ, Sugiyama LS, Bohannan BJM. 2018. Market integration predicts human gut microbiome attributes across a gradient of economic development. mSystems 3:e00122-17. https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00122-17.


Economic development is marked by dramatic increases in the incidence of microbiome-associated diseases, such as autoimmune diseases and metabolic syndromes, but the lifestyle changes that drive alterations in the human microbiome are not known. We measured market integration as a proxy for economically related lifestyle attributes, such as ownership of specific market goods that index degree of market integration and components of traditional and nontraditional (more modern) house structure and infrastructure, and profiled the fecal microbiomes of 213 participants from a contiguous, indigenous Ecuadorian population. Despite relatively modest differences in lifestyle across the population, greater economic development correlated with significantly lower within-host diversity, higher between-host dissimilarity, and a decrease in the relative abundance of the bacterium Prevotella . These microbiome shifts were most strongly associated with more modern housing, followed by reduced ownership of traditional subsistence lifestyle-associated items.IMPORTANCE Previous research has reported differences in the gut microbiome between populations residing in wealthy versus poorer countries, leading to the assertion that lifestyle changes associated with economic development promote changes in the gut microbiome that promote the proliferation of microbiome-associated diseases. However, a direct relationship between economic development and the gut microbiome has not previously been shown. We surveyed the gut microbiomes of a single indigenous population undergoing economic development and found significant associations between features of the gut microbiome and lifestyle changes associated with economic development. These findings suggest that even the earliest stages of economic development can drive changes in the gut microbiome, which may provide a warning sign for the development of microbiome-associated diseases.

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David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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