Spotlight: Human genetic variation drives microbiome diversity!

Our recent Cell Host & Microbe paper, relating human salivary amylase (AMY1) gene copy number to microbiome diversity, is being featured across the internet. So far, it has been highlighted by the PLoS Microbiome channel, the Gut Microbiota For Health platform, and as a Trends in Microbiology Spotlight article!

In this paper, we show that AMY1 copy number is correlated with both the oral and gut microbiomes. We report that participants with lower copy numbers of this gene had enhanced capacity to break down complex carbohydrates, while those with higher copy numbers had increased levels of both Porphyromonas in the oral biome and starch-degrading microbes in the gut biome.

Given the emerging area of personalised medicine, this work highlights the link between individual genetic variation and how common foods are digested by the body.

Poole, A.C., Goodrich, J.K., Youngblut, N.D., Luque, G.G., Ruaud, A., Sutter, J.L., Waters, J.L., Shi, Q., El-Hadidi, M., Johnson, L.M., Bar, H.Y., Huson, D.H., Booth, J.G., Ley, R.E. (2019) Human salivary amylase gene copy number impacts oral and gut microbiomes. Cell Host & Microbe 25(4): 553-564.e7.