The Human Microbiome for Personalized Health

The Human Microbiome for Personalized Health


Understanding the complex interplay between the human genome and the intricate community of microorganisms residing in the body, known as the microbiome, is crucial for deciphering its profound impact on human health. Genomic technologies have played a pivotal role in unraveling the mysteries of the microbiome, with recent studies exploring links between genetic variations and microbial compositions.


GS-02 (Health)

Mains Question:

Examine the role of the human microbiome in regulating essential physiological functions and its implications for human health. Discuss recent findings on the influence of genetic variations on microbial compositions, highlighting potential links to cardiovascular disorders, cancer development, and neurological functions. (250 words)

Human Microbiome:

  • The human body harbors diverse communities of microorganisms, primarily bacteria collectively known as the “human microbiome.”
  • These microorganisms play crucial roles in various aspects of host physiology, including the metabolism of complex carbohydrates and fats, the synthesis of essential vitamins, and the maintenance of the immune system.

National Centre of Microbial Resource – National Centre for Cell Science (NCMR – NCCS):

  • National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) is an autonomous organization supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
  • Situated on the Pune University campus in Maharashtra, NCCS serves as a national repository for animal cell cultures and conducts research in cell biology. It comprises two repositories: the Cell Repository and the National Centre of Microbial Resource (NCMR).

National Centre of Microbial Resource (NCMR):

  • With a collection of over 180,000 microorganisms, NCMR stands as the world’s largest culture collection, elevating India to the third position globally.
  • Recognized in 2009 as an International Depository Authority (IDA) under the Budapest Treaty by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Geneva, NCMR is also acknowledged as a Designated National Repository under the Biodiversity Act of 2002 by the Ministry of Environment.

Dimensions of the Article:

  • Microbiome’s Crucial Role in Health
  • Genetic Technologies Unveiling Microbial Mysteries
  • Microbiome’s Impact on Human Health
  • Genetic Variations and Microbial Diversity
  • Microbes and Cancer Development
  • Microbiome and Neuronal Signaling
  • Microbiome’s Involvement in Urobilinogen Metabolism

Microbiome’s Crucial Role in Health:

  • The human microbiome, dwelling predominantly in the digestive tract, comprises trillions of microorganisms influencing essential bodily functions. From food digestion to nutrient absorption, metabolism, immunity development, and mental health, the microbiome’s dynamic community is integral to overall well-being.
  • The Human Microbiome Project, launched in 2012, marked a milestone in unveiling the microbial makeup through genome sequencing.

Genetic Technologies Unveiling Microbial Mysteries:

  • Genomic technologies have become instrumental in studying microorganisms that defy traditional lab cultivation methods.
  • The Human Microbiome Project pioneered genome sequencing to shed light on the complex microbial ecosystem within the human body.

Microbiome’s Impact on Human Health:

  • A healthy human microbiome is indispensable for physiological functions such as digesting food and absorbing nutrients. Imbalances in microbial populations can lead to various health conditions.
  • Changes in microbial compositions, notably after antibiotic use, highlight the dynamic nature of the microbiome. Medical interventions like fecal microbial transplants showcase the potential for manipulating microbiome compositions to address health issues.

Genetic Variations and Microbial Diversity:

  • Recent studies, involving 9,015 individuals, have uncovered a link between human genetic variations and gut microbe genes.
  • Specific gene clusters related to metabolizing N-acetylgalactosamine, an amino-sugar, show associations with ABO blood group variations.
  • The ABO blood group’s connection with cardiometabolic traits and severe COVID-19 risk suggests a potential modulation of cardiovascular disorders through the microbiome.

Microbes and Cancer Development:

  • Exploring the microbiome’s role in cancer development, researchers identified trans-3-indoleacrylic acid (IDA) as a mediator for colorectal cancer.
  • Administering IDA or implanting the Peptostreptococcus anaerobius microbe induced colorectal cancer in mice. Deleting specific human genes revealed potential therapeutic opportunities for cancer treatment.

Microbiome and Neuronal Signaling:

  • Emerging evidence indicates a connection between the human microbiome and neuronal signaling.
  • Microbial production of vitamin B12, influencing the availability of free choline, can impact neuronal signaling. This finding suggests a broader influence of the microbiome on neurological functions.

Microbiome’s Involvement in Urobilinogen Metabolism:

  • A recent study proposed the involvement of the human microbiome in urobilinogen metabolism, responsible for the yellow color of urine.
  • The identification of the bacterial enzyme Bilirubin Reductase (BilR) in this process, particularly in Firmicutes species, highlights its significance in maintaining bilirubin levels.

Way Forward:

  • The burgeoning field of human genomic studies holds immense promise for personalized healthcare interventions. As we continue to unravel the intricacies of the microbiome and its interconnectedness with human genetics, new avenues for targeted treatments and preventive strategies emerge.
  • The balance between genetic variations, microbial compositions, and their collective impact on health underscores the need for comprehensive research and innovative interventions.