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Composition and function of the human-associated microbiota

Elisabeth M Bik
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00237.x S164-S171 First published online: 1 November 2009


The human body is an ecosystem harboring complex site-specific microbial communities. The majority of these human-associated microbes are found in the intestinal tract, where they play important roles in energy uptake, vitamin synthesis, and epithelial and immunity development. Recent molecular studies have characterized the human-associated microbiotas in more detail than conventional culture-dependent techniques, showing a large degree of microbial diversity and differences between anatomical sites and individuals. Investigating the composition and function of microbial symbionts will facilitate better understanding of their roles in human health and disease.

  • human-associated microbiota
  • intestinal microbiota
  • ribosomal genes
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