Send to

Choose Destination
Genome Res. 2009 Apr;19(4):636-43. doi: 10.1101/gr.084616.108. Epub 2009 Feb 27.

Global diversity in the human salivary microbiome.

Author information

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.


The human salivary microbiome may play a role in diseases of the oral cavity and interact with microbiomes from other parts of the human body (in particular, the intestinal tract), but little is known about normal variation in the salivary microbiome. We analyzed 14,115 partial ( approximately 500 bp) 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences from saliva samples from 120 healthy individuals (10 individuals from each of 12 worldwide locations). These sequences could be assigned to 101 known bacterial genera, of which 39 were not previously reported from the human oral cavity; phylogenetic analysis suggests that an additional 64 unknown genera are present. There is high diversity in the salivary microbiome within and between individuals, but little geographic structure. Overall, approximately 13.5% of the total variance in the composition of genera is due to differences among individuals, which is remarkably similar to the fraction of the total variance in neutral genetic markers that can be attributed to differences among human populations. Investigation of some environmental variables revealed a significant association between the genetic distances among locations and the distance of each location from the equator. Further characterization of the enormous diversity revealed here in the human salivary microbiome will aid in elucidating the role it plays in human health and disease, and in the identification of potentially informative species for studies of human population history.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Secondary source ID

Publication type

MeSH terms


Secondary source ID

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center