Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining the environmental and genetic basis of human gut microbiome composition
by Davenport, Emily Rebecca, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2014, 176; 3668239
Abstract (Summary)

The human body is colonized by billions of prokaryotic cells whose gene content is estimated to be 100 times that of the human genome. These cells, the human microbiome, form a complex relationship with the host and are associated with a number of human diseases including obesity, asthma, and even cancer. Understanding the factors that determine microbiome composition is therefore of great importance to human health. In my thesis work, I examined both environmental and genetic factors that are associated with microbial abundance in the human gut. First, I report a bioinformatic study to determine the optimal sequencing study design to examine prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes using short read sequencing technology. Using the optimal protocol, I then examine how seasonal environmental variation potentially influences the gut microbiome, including differences in diet. Finally, I investigate the role of host genetics in determining gut microbiome composition: identifying bacteria in the gut whose abundances are heritable and loci in the human genome that are associated with relative bacterial abundance. Through this work, I have gained insight into the relative roles of both environmental and genetic factors that influence gut microbiome.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gilad, Yoav
Commitee: Nicolae, Dan L., Ober, Carole, Stephens, Matthew
School: The University of Chicago
Department: Human Genetics
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 76/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Ecology, Genetics, Microbiology, Bioinformatics
Keywords: 16S rRNA, Diet, Genome-wide association study, Heritability, Microbiome
Publication Number: 3668239
ISBN: 978-1-321-43228-2
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