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FEBS Lett. 2014 Nov 17;588(22):4131-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.02.037. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

The dynamic microbiome.

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Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Department of Pathology, Center for Clinical and Translational Metagenomics, 221 Longwood Avenue, EBRC 422B, Boston, MA 02115, United States. Electronic address:


While our genomes are essentially static, our microbiomes are inherently dynamic. The microbial communities we harbor in our bodies change throughout our lives due to many factors, including maturation during childhood, alterations in our diets, travel, illnesses, and medical treatments. Moreover, there is mounting evidence that our microbiomes change us, by promoting health through their beneficial actions or by increasing our susceptibility to diseases through a process termed dysbiosis. Recent technological advances are enabling unprecedentedly detailed studies of the dynamics of the microbiota in animal models and human populations. This review will highlight key areas of investigation in the field, including establishment of the microbiota during early childhood, temporal variability of the microbiome in healthy adults, responses of the microbiota to intentional perturbations such as antibiotics and dietary changes, and prospective analyses linking changes in the microbiota to host disease status. Given the importance of computational methods in the field, this review will also discuss issues and pitfalls in the analysis of microbiome time-series data, and explore several promising new directions for mathematical model and algorithm development.


Computational model; Dynamic; Longitudinal; Microbiome; Time-series

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