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MOTIVATION Chimeric DNA sequences often form during polymerase chain reaction amplification, especially when sequencing single regions (e.g. 16S rRNA or fungal Internal Transcribed Spacer) to assess diversity or compare populations. Undetected chimeras may be misinterpreted as novel species, causing inflated estimates of diversity and spurious inferences of(More)
Profiling phylogenetic marker genes, such as the 16S rRNA gene, is a key tool for studies of microbial communities but does not provide direct evidence of a community's functional capabilities. Here we describe PICRUSt (phylogenetic investigation of communities by reconstruction of unobserved states), a computational approach to predict the functional(More)
Gut microbial communities represent one source of human genetic and metabolic diversity. To examine how gut microbiomes differ among human populations, here we characterize bacterial species in fecal samples from 531 individuals, plus the gene content of 110 of them. The cohort encompassed healthy children and adults from the Amazonas of Venezuela, rural(More)
The human gut harbors diverse microbes that play a fundamental role in the well-being of their host. The constituents of the microbiota--bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotes--have been shown to interact with one another and with the host immune system in ways that influence the development of disease. We review these interactions and suggest that a holistic(More)
The role of specific gut microbes in shaping body composition remains unclear. We transplanted fecal microbiota from adult female twin pairs discordant for obesity into germ-free mice fed low-fat mouse chow, as well as diets representing different levels of saturated fat and fruit and vegetable consumption typical of the U.S. diet. Increased total body and(More)
Native tallgrass prairie once dominated much of the midwestern United States, but this biome and the soil microbial diversity that once sustained this highly productive system have been almost completely eradicated by decades of agricultural practices. We reconstructed the soil microbial diversity that once existed in this biome by analyzing relict prairie(More)
Coevolution of mammals and their gut microbiota has profoundly affected their radiation into myriad habitats. We used shotgun sequencing of microbial community DNA and targeted sequencing of bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA genes to gain an understanding of how microbial communities adapt to extremes of diet. We sampled fecal DNA from 33 mammalian species and 18(More)
We present a performance-optimized algorithm, subsampled open-reference OTU picking, for assigning marker gene (e.g., 16S rRNA) sequences generated on next-generation sequencing platforms to operational taxonomic units (OTUs) for microbial community analysis. This algorithm provides benefits over de novo OTU picking (clustering can be performed largely in(More)
Ruminants rely on a complex rumen microbial community to convert dietary plant material to energy-yielding products. Here we developed a method to simultaneously analyze the community's bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA genes, ciliate 18S rRNA genes and anaerobic fungal internal transcribed spacer 1 genes using 12 DNA samples derived from 11 different rumen(More)
A low-error 16S ribosomal RNA amplicon sequencing method, in combination with whole-genome sequencing of >500 cultured isolates, was used to characterize bacterial strain composition in the fecal microbiota of 37 U.S. adults sampled for up to 5 years. Microbiota stability followed a power-law function, which when extrapolated suggests that most strains in(More)