The Microbiome: Genesis and Functions



As in the case of the visible organs, the microbiome also begins its developmental stages in the womb. Further evolution and maturation of the organ then proceed after birth during childhood, puberty and beyond. An array of disparate factors including genetic, geography, and nutrition converge to shape the microbiome each of us possesses. For instance, individuals born in rural Africa or South America tend to have higher amounts of Prevotella than their counterparts in Europe or North America. In a similar fashion the lungs are larger in residents living in high elevation than those dwelling at sea-level. The microbiome not only plays a role in the establishment of the visible organs but it also fends against opportunistic microbial invaders, produces vitamins, enzymes, anti-oxidants, neurotransmitters and participate in a plethora of vital functions. The effectiveness of the digestive tract in extracting the maximal amount of nutrients from the foods we intake is largely dependent on the microbial helpers residing in the alimentary canal. The ability of different populations to consume food products available only in their specific region is attributed to this microbial assistance. The digestion of dietary fibres, the activation of drugs and the elimination of toxins are mediated by the wide range of enzymes that are associated with the constituents of the microbiome. Although the molecular workings of the microbiome is only now beginning to be unravelled, it is becoming abundantly clear that these microbial partners are intimately linked to humans, make them the way they are and impart on each individual the unique biological and physical attributes they exhibit.


Organogenesis development digestion geography genetic diet vitamins dopamine 

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Science and EngineeringLaurentian UniversitySudburyCanada

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