Data from: Cryptic diversity of cellulose-degrading gut bacteria in industrialized humans

  • Itzik Mizrahi (Creator)
  • Alvah Zorea (Creator)
  • Ed Bayer (Creator)
  • Liron Levin (Creator)
  • William Martin (Creator)
  • Sarah Moraïs (Creator)
  • Falk Nagies (Creator)
  • Nils Kapust (Creator)
  • Sarah Winkler (Creator)
  • Eva Lamed (Creator)
  • Avital Furman (Creator)
  • David Bolam (Creator)
  • Madhav Yadav (Creator)



Humans, like all mammals, depend on the gut microbiome for digestion of cellulose, the main component of plant fiber, but evidence for cellulose fermentation in the human gut is scarce. We have identified ruminococcal species in the gut microbiota of human populations that assemble functional multi-enzymatic cellulosome systems capable of degrading plant cell wall polysaccharides. One of these species, which is strongly associated with humans, likely originated in the ruminant gut and was subsequently transferred to the human gut potentially during domestication, where it underwent diversification and diet-related adaptation through the acquisition of genes from other gut microbes. Collectively, these species are abundant and widespread among ancient humans, hunter-gatherers, and rural populations, but are extremely rare in populations from industrialized societies, suggesting potential disappearance in response to the westernized lifestyle.
Date made available12 Feb 2024

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