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What is microbiome?

The microbiome corresponds to the total number of genes that a population of microorganisms has, that is, its entire genetic heritage. However, this term is commonly confused with microbiota, being used as synonyms. Although in disuse, another term also associated with microorganisms, is microbes.

Microbiota and microbiome: the differences

The microbiota refers to microorganisms present in a given environment, such as the oral, vaginal and intestinal microbiota. The microbiome comprises the genes that form the genome of microorganisms in that environment, which, with the advancement of technology and scientific research, it has become possible to perform multiple DNA sequencing analyses, which allows their identification and categorization, such as viruses and bacteria.

How does it work?

It is basically the genetic heritage of the microbiota and, as it comes to the human species, they express characteristics that directly influence health. Microbiota genes are complementary to human genes and influence both health processes and disease development processes, in addition to influencing microbiota diversity. In addition, it is influenced by lifestyle, sex, body mass index (BMI) as well as epigenetic factors such as food choices and the environment in which the individual is inserted.


Gómez A. Microbiome, health and enfermedad: probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics

. Biomedica. 2019 Dec 1;39(4):617-621. Spanish. PMID: 31860173; PMCID: PMC7363347.

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