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The human ‘metagenome’ is a composite of <i>Homo sapiens</i> genes and genes present in the genomes of the trillions of microbes that colonize our adult bodies (the ‘microbiome’). Our largest collection of microbes resides in the gut, where an estimated 10-100 trillion organisms reside (the gut microbiota). The gut microbiome encodes metabolic capacities that remain largely unexplored but include the degradation of otherwise indigestible components of our diet. Our recent metagenomic analyses of humans and mice have revealed linkages between distal gut microbial ecology, microbial community gene content, and host energy balance. Other studies have also demonstrated links between microbial ecology and human disorders such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and diabetes.  
 
The human ‘metagenome’ is a composite of <i>Homo sapiens</i> genes and genes present in the genomes of the trillions of microbes that colonize our adult bodies (the ‘microbiome’). Our largest collection of microbes resides in the gut, where an estimated 10-100 trillion organisms reside (the gut microbiota). The gut microbiome encodes metabolic capacities that remain largely unexplored but include the degradation of otherwise indigestible components of our diet. Our recent metagenomic analyses of humans and mice have revealed linkages between distal gut microbial ecology, microbial community gene content, and host energy balance. Other studies have also demonstrated links between microbial ecology and human disorders such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and diabetes.  
  

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