Home / Colloquium: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives on the Human Microbiome


Title: Comparative and Evolutionary Perspectives on the Human Microbiome

Speaker: Dr. Steve Leigh, Department of Anthropology University of Colorado Boulder

Venue and time: Großer Seminarraum 602 (Rümelinstraße 23), Nov. 12, 12:30 s.t.


Analyses of the human microbiome have fundamentally changed our views of human biology with respect to diet, health, and disease.  However, we lack a strong comparative framework that enables evolutionary inferences about the human microbiome.   Comparative analyses of human and nonhuman primate microbial 16S rRNA sequence and metagenomic data provide insights into the evolution of the human microbiome.  Results indicate that human microbiomes depart from a more general primate-wide pattern in which phylogenetic relations of host primate species largely predict microbiome composition and function.  In addition, among-population differences in humans considerably exceed the range of variation within primate species, implying that human microbiomes are highly sensitive to differences in diet, ecology, environment, and culture.  These findings imply that the microbiome has played a key role in human evolution.