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Trends Microbiol. 2016 May;24(5):402-413. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2016.02.002. Epub 2016 Mar 17.

Functional Redundancy-Induced Stability of Gut Microbiota Subjected to Disturbance.

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Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research in the Valencian Community (FISABIO), Valencia, Spain; Network Research Center for Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBER-ESP), Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:
Institute of Catalysis, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid, Spain.


The microbiota should be considered as just another component of the human epigenetic landscape. Thus, health is also a reflection of the diversity and composition of gut microbiota and its metabolic status. In defining host health, it remains unclear whether diversity is paramount, or whether greater weight is held by gut microbiota composition or mono- or multiple-functional capacity of the different taxa and the mechanisms involved. A network-biology approach may shed light on the key gut players acting to protect against, or promote, disorders or diseases. This could be achieved by integrating data on total and active species, proteins and molecules, and their association with host response. In this review, we discuss the utilization of top-down and bottom-up approaches, following a functional hierarchy perspective.


dysbiosis; functional redundancy; resilience; resistance; stability

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