A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing

Marcelo Bertalan Quintanilha dos Santos, Thomas Sicheritz-Pontén, Henrik Bjørn Nielsen, Søren Brunak, Junjie Qin, Ruiqiang Li, Jeroen Raes, Manimozhiyan Arumugam, Kristoffer Solvsten Burgdorf, Chaysavanh Manichanh, Trine Nielsen, Nicolas Pons, Florence Levenez, Takuji Yamada, Daniel R. Mende, Junhua Li, Junming Xu, Shaochuan Li, Dongfang Li, Jianjun CaoBo Wang, Huiqing Liang, Huisong Zheng, Yinlong Xie, Julien Tap, Patricia Lepage, Jean-Michel Batto, Torben Hansen, Denis Le Paslier, Allan Linneberg, Eric Pelletier, Pierre Renault, Keith Turner, Hongmei Zhu, Chang Yu, Shengting Li, Min Jian, Yan Zhou, Yingrui Li, Xiuqing Zhang, Songgang Li, Nan Qin, Huanming Yang, Jian Wang, Joel Dore, Francisco Guarner, Karsten Kristiansen, Oluf Pedersen, Julian Parkhil, Jean Weissenbach, Peer Bork, S. Dusko Ehrlich, Jun Wang

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    To understand the impact of gut microbes on human health and well-being it is crucial to assess their genetic potential. Here we describe the Illumina-based metagenomic sequencing, assembly and characterization of 3.3 million non-redundant microbial genes, derived from 576.7 gigabases of sequence, from faecal samples of 124 European individuals. The gene set, ,150 times larger than the human gene complement, contains an overwhelming majority of the prevalent (more frequent) microbial genes of the cohort and probably includes a large proportion of the prevalent human intestinal microbial genes. The genes are largely shared among individuals of the cohort. Over 99% of the genes are bacterial, indicating that the entire cohort harbours between 1,000 and 1,150 prevalent bacterial species and each individual at least 160 such species, which are also largely shared. We define and describe the minimal gut metagenome and the minimal gut bacterial genome in terms of functions present in all individuals and most bacteria, respectively.
    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number7285
    Pages (from-to)59
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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