From lifetime to evolution: Timescales of human gut microbiota adaptation

Sara Quercia, Marco Candela, Cristina Giuliani, Silvia Turroni, Donata Luiselli, Simone Rampelli, Patrizia Brigidi, Claudio Franceschi, Maria Giulia Bacalini, Paolo Garagnani, Chiara Pirazzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human beings harbor gut microbial communities that are essential to preserve human health. Molded by the human genome, the gut microbiota (GM) is an adaptive component of the human superorganisms that allows host adaptation at different timescales, optimizing host physiology from daily life to lifespan scales and human evolutionary history. The GM continuously changes from birth up to the most extreme limits of human life, reconfiguring its metagenomic layout in response to daily variations in diet or specific host physiological and immunological needs at different ages. On the other hand, the microbiota plasticity was strategic to face changes in lifestyle and dietary habits along the course of the recent evolutionary history, that has driven the passage from Paleolithic hunter-gathering societies to Neolithic agricultural farmers to modern Westernized societies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberNOV
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aging
  • Biological adaptation
  • Co-evolution
  • Environmental stimuli
  • Gut microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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