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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|Commitee:||Nicolae, Dan L., Ober, Carole, Stephens, Matthew|
|School:||The University of Chicago|
|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|
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