Temporal variability is a personalized feature of the human microbiome

Gilberto E. Flores, James G Caporaso, Jessica B. Henley, Jai R am Rideout, Daniel Domogala, John Chase, Jonathan W. Leff, Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, Antonio Gonzalez, Rob Knight, Robert R. Dunn, Noah Fierer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

119 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: It is now apparent that the complex microbial communities found on and in the human body vary across individuals. What has largely been missing from previous studies is an understanding of how these communities vary over time within individuals. To the extent to which it has been considered, it is often assumed that temporal variability is negligible for healthy adults. Here we address this gap in understanding by profiling the forehead, gut (fecal), palm, and tongue microbial communities in 85 adults, weekly over 3 months.

RESULTS: We found that skin (forehead and palm) varied most in the number of taxa present, whereas gut and tongue communities varied more in the relative abundances of taxa. Within each body habitat, there was a wide range of temporal variability across the study population, with some individuals harboring more variable communities than others. The best predictor of these differences in variability across individuals was microbial diversity; individuals with more diverse gut or tongue communities were more stable in composition than individuals with less diverse communities.

CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal sampling of a relatively large number of individuals allowed us to observe high levels of temporal variability in both diversity and community structure in all body habitats studied. These findings suggest that temporal dynamics may need to be considered when attempting to link changes in microbiome structure to changes in health status. Furthermore, our findings show that, not only is the composition of an individual's microbiome highly personalized, but their degree of temporal variability is also a personalized feature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531
Number of pages1
JournalGenome Biology
Volume15
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Microbiota
microbial community
tongue
health status
habitat
Tongue
digestive system
relative abundance
skin
community structure
Forehead
microbial communities
Ecosystem
sampling
habitats
skin (animal)
Human Body
Health Status
microbiome
Skin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Flores, G. E., Caporaso, J. G., Henley, J. B., Rideout, J. R. A., Domogala, D., Chase, J., ... Fierer, N. (2014). Temporal variability is a personalized feature of the human microbiome. Genome Biology, 15(12), 531. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-014-0531-y

Temporal variability is a personalized feature of the human microbiome. / Flores, Gilberto E.; Caporaso, James G; Henley, Jessica B.; Rideout, Jai R am; Domogala, Daniel; Chase, John; Leff, Jonathan W.; Vázquez-Baeza, Yoshiki; Gonzalez, Antonio; Knight, Rob; Dunn, Robert R.; Fierer, Noah.

In: Genome Biology, Vol. 15, No. 12, 2014, p. 531.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Flores, GE, Caporaso, JG, Henley, JB, Rideout, JRA, Domogala, D, Chase, J, Leff, JW, Vázquez-Baeza, Y, Gonzalez, A, Knight, R, Dunn, RR & Fierer, N 2014, 'Temporal variability is a personalized feature of the human microbiome', Genome Biology, vol. 15, no. 12, pp. 531. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-014-0531-y
Flores, Gilberto E. ; Caporaso, James G ; Henley, Jessica B. ; Rideout, Jai R am ; Domogala, Daniel ; Chase, John ; Leff, Jonathan W. ; Vázquez-Baeza, Yoshiki ; Gonzalez, Antonio ; Knight, Rob ; Dunn, Robert R. ; Fierer, Noah. / Temporal variability is a personalized feature of the human microbiome. In: Genome Biology. 2014 ; Vol. 15, No. 12. pp. 531.
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