Structure and Function of the Human Microbiome
Ritchie, Marina Lorna
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Humans harbour a diverse suite of microorganisms in and on their bodies. These microorganisms collectively amount to 10 times more cells than human cells in the body, and their combined genomes have more than 100 times more genes than the human genome does. Despite our understanding of the composition, diversity, and abundance of microorganisms of the human body, it is surprising how little we know about the structure and function of the human microbiome. Here, I use network structure to describe interactions among human-associated microbiota and the human body by exploring differences in structure of human microbiomes across five regions of the body and the robustness of these networks to perturbations. My results show that positive interactions among microbiota are extremely important in structuring microbiome networks and those structural aspects of microbiome networks play a major role in their response to perturbations.