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Gut. 2013 Jan;62(1):146-58. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2011-301805. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

A metagenomic insight into our gut's microbiome.

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INRA, MICALIS UMR1319, Jouy-en-Josas, France.


Advances in sequencing technology and the development of metagenomic and bioinformatics methods have opened up new ways to investigate the 10(14) microorganisms inhabiting the human gut. The gene composition of human gut microbiome in a large and deeply sequenced cohort highlighted an overall non-redundant genome size 150 times larger than the human genome. The in silico predictions based on metagenomic sequencing are now actively followed, compared and challenged using additional 'omics' technologies. Interactions between the microbiota and its host are of key interest in several pathologies and applying meta-omics to describe the human gut microbiome will give a better understanding of this crucial crosstalk at mucosal interfaces. Adding to the growing appreciation of the importance of the microbiome is the discovery that numerous phages, that is, viruses of prokaryotes infecting bacteria (bacteriophages) or archaea with a high host specificity, inhabit the human gut and impact microbial activity. In addition, gene exchanges within the gut microbiota have proved to be more frequent than anticipated. Taken together, these innovative exploratory technologies are expected to unravel new information networks critical for gut homeostasis and human health. Among the challenges faced, the in vivo validation of these networks, together with their integration into the prediction and prognosis of disease, may require further working hypothesis and collaborative efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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