Role of the microbiome in human development

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, Rob Knight, Martin J. Blaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

367 Scopus citations


The host-microbiome supraorganism appears to have coevolved and the unperturbed microbial component of the dyad renders host health sustainable. This coevolution has likely shaped evolving phenotypes in all life forms on this predominantly microbial planet. The microbiota seems to exert effects on the next generation from gestation, via maternal microbiota and immune responses. The microbiota ecosystems develop, restricted to their epithelial niches by the host immune system, concomitantly with the host chronological development, providing early modulation of physiological host development and functions for nutrition, immunity and resistance to pathogens at all ages. Here, we review the role of the microbiome in human development, including evolutionary considerations, and the maternal/fetal relationships, contributions to nutrition and growth. We also discuss what constitutes a healthy microbiota, how antimicrobial modern practices are impacting the human microbiota, the associations between microbiota perturbations, host responses and diseases rocketing in urban societies and potential for future restoration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1108-1114
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gastroenterology


  • development
  • evolution
  • human microbiome
  • perturbations
  • restoration


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