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Front Microbiol. 2014 Nov 4;5:587. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00587. eCollection 2014.

From lifetime to evolution: timescales of human gut microbiota adaptation.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy.
2
BiGEA, Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology & Centre for Genome Biology, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy.
3
DIMES, Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy ; CIG, Interdepartmental Centre "L. Galvani" CIG, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy ; IRCSS, Institute of Neurological Sciences of Bologna Bologna, Italy ; IGM-CNR, Institute of Molecular Genetics, Unit of Bologna IOR Bologna, Italy ; CNR, Institute of Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity (ISOF) Bologna, Italy.
4
DIMES, Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy ; CIG, Interdepartmental Centre "L. Galvani" CIG, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy.
5
DIMES, Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy ; CIG, Interdepartmental Centre "L. Galvani" CIG, University of Bologna Bologna, Italy ; CRBA, Center for Applied Biomedical Research, St. Orsola-Malpighi University Hospital Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

Human beings harbor gut microbial communities that are essential to preserve human health. Molded by the human genome, the gut microbiota (GM) is an adaptive component of the human superorganisms that allows host adaptation at different timescales, optimizing host physiology from daily life to lifespan scales and human evolutionary history. The GM continuously changes from birth up to the most extreme limits of human life, reconfiguring its metagenomic layout in response to daily variations in diet or specific host physiological and immunological needs at different ages. On the other hand, the microbiota plasticity was strategic to face changes in lifestyle and dietary habits along the course of the recent evolutionary history, that has driven the passage from Paleolithic hunter-gathering societies to Neolithic agricultural farmers to modern Westernized societies.

KEYWORDS:

aging; biological adaptation; co-evolution; environmental stimuli; gut microbiota

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