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Fluctuations in the composition and diversity of the gut microbial community can affect organismal health in various ways. Low microbial diversity in the gut can increase a person’s susceptibility to potential pathogens, such as Salmonella spp. And changes in the balance between the two bacterial taxa most prominent in the gut, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, are associated with conditions like obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, gastrointestinal cancer and stress. Medical researchers have therefore suggested that the ability to regulate microbial community composition might provide opportunities to treat these and other diseases.
Lab Anim. (NY) 44, 159 (2015).
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