Review

Vulnerability of the industrialized microbiota

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Science  25 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6464, eaaw9255
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw9255

One world, one health

As people increasingly move to cities, their lifestyles profoundly change. Sonnenburg and Sonnenburg review how the shift of recent generations from rural, outdoor environments to urbanized and industrialized settings has profoundly affected our biology and health. The signals of change are seen most strikingly in the reduction of commensal microbial taxa and loss of their metabolic functions. The extirpation of human commensals is a result of bombardment by new chemicals, foodstuffs, sanitation, and medical practices. For most people, sanitation and readily available food have been beneficial, but have we now reached a tipping point? How do we “conserve” our beneficial symbionts and keep the pathogens at bay?

Science, this issue p. eaaw9255

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