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Nature. 2007 Oct 18;449(7164):811-8.

An ecological and evolutionary perspective on human-microbe mutualism and disease.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Abstract

The microbial communities of humans are characteristic and complex mixtures of microorganisms that have co-evolved with their human hosts. The species that make up these communities vary between hosts as a result of restricted migration of microorganisms between hosts and strong ecological interactions within hosts, as well as host variability in terms of diet, genotype and colonization history. The shared evolutionary fate of humans and their symbiotic bacteria has selected for mutualistic interactions that are essential for human health, and ecological or genetic changes that uncouple this shared fate can result in disease. In this way, looking to ecological and evolutionary principles might provide new strategies for restoring and maintaining human health.

PMID:
17943117
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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