Impact of host genetics on gut microbiome: Take-home lessons from human and mouse studies

Inbal Cahana, Fuad A Iraqi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The intestinal microbiome has emerged as an important component involved in various diseases. Therefore, the interest in understanding the factors shaping its composition is growing. The gut microbiome, often defined as a complex trait, contains diverse components and its properties are determined by a combination of external and internal effects. Although much effort has been invested so far, it is still difficult to evaluate the extent to which human genetics shape the composition of the gut microbiota. However, in mouse studies, where the environmental factors are better controlled, the effect of the genetic background was significant. The purpose of this paper is to provide a current assessment of the role of human host genetics in shaping the gut microbiome composition. Despite the inconsistency of the reported results, it can be estimated that the genetic factor affects a portion of the microbiome. However, this effect is currently lower than the initial estimates, and it is difficult to separate the genetic influence from the environmental effect. Additionally, despite the differences between the microbial composition of humans and mice, results from mouse models can strengthen our knowledge of host genetics underlying the human gut microbial variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal models and experimental medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


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