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Cell. 2014 Nov 6;159(4):789-99. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.053.

Human genetics shape the gut microbiome.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA; Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
2
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
3
Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, London SE1 7EH, UK.
4
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
5
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA; Biofrontiers Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
6
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA; Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address: rel222@cornell.edu.

Abstract

Host genetics and the gut microbiome can both influence metabolic phenotypes. However, whether host genetic variation shapes the gut microbiome and interacts with it to affect host phenotype is unclear. Here, we compared microbiotas across >1,000 fecal samples obtained from the TwinsUK population, including 416 twin pairs. We identified many microbial taxa whose abundances were influenced by host genetics. The most heritable taxon, the family Christensenellaceae, formed a co-occurrence network with other heritable Bacteria and with methanogenic Archaea. Furthermore, Christensenellaceae and its partners were enriched in individuals with low body mass index (BMI). An obese-associated microbiome was amended with Christensenella minuta, a cultured member of the Christensenellaceae, and transplanted to germ-free mice. C. minuta amendment reduced weight gain and altered the microbiome of recipient mice. Our findings indicate that host genetics influence the composition of the human gut microbiome and can do so in ways that impact host metabolism.

Comment in

PMID:
25417156
PMCID:
PMC4255478
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2014.09.053
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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