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Medical Science Review (MSR) has developed as an independent title in 2014 as a continuation of highly successful Review Section of the Medical Science Monitor (since 1995). The aim of the Journal is to gather review articles across all medical disciplines, thereby integrating international medical knowledge. Medical Science Review has adopted the Open Access publishing model which enables free access... read more

Published: 2015-10-01

The Human Microbiota: Composition, Functions, and Therapeutic Potential

Rick Conrad, Alexander V. Vlassov

(Department of Research and Development, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Austin, TX, USA)

Med Sci Rev 2015; 2:92-103

DOI: 10.12659/MSRev.895154

ABSTRACT: The human body – primarily (but not solely) the gut – is populated by 100 trillion bacteria and other members of the microbiota community, which play a fundamental role in our well-being. Deviations from healthy microbial compositions have been linked with many human diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, cancer, asthma, diabetes, and allergies. This review provides a high-level summary of human microbiome composition and known health effects, and highlights the typical workflows and tools used in microbiome research – from sample collection and storage to isolation and analysis of DNA. We particularly focus on multiple novel microbiota-based therapeutic approaches, including fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) and targeted bacteriophage engineering. Although our understanding of the microbiome and its interaction with the host is still in the nascent stages, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to treat it as a sophisticated system, much like the circulatory and immune systems, that exists in harmony with homeostasis, playing multiple roles within the human body.

Keywords: Bacteriophages, DNA sequencing, microbiota, Microbiome

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