Global and evolutionary human microbiomics

Microbiomes of Nepali populations practicing different subsistence strategies

How does the transition to agriculture affect the microbiome? In collaboration with Dr. Aashish Jha, we examining the microbiomes of a fascinating set of populations from Nepal that in the past practiced semi-nomadic hunting and gathering. Some of these populations maintain that lifestyle (the Chepang), some took agricultural practices hundreds of years ago (the Tharu), and some have more recently transitioned (the Raute and Raji). Our goal is to identify whether these pre-industrial changes in subsistence strategies potentially influenced either the gut or oral microbiomes. While analysis of the oral microbiomes is on-going, gut microbiomes clearly differentiate between the subsistence groups. Incorporation of survey data reveal several lifestyle and dietary factors that may contribute, including drinking water source.

Check out Dr. Aashish Jha’s website describing the project:
- Himalayan Diversity Project


Gut microbiome transition across a life gradient in Himalaya
Jha AR, Davenport ER, Gautam Y, Bhandari D, Tandukar S, Ng K, Holmes S, Prasad Gautam G, Bahadur Sherchand J, Bustamante CD, and Sonnenburg JL. PLoS Biology. 2018;16(11):e2005396 (epub 2018 Nov 15)