In this Review, we explore microbial succession in the healthy human microbiota from the cradle to the grave.
We discuss the stages from primary succession at birth, to disruptions by disease or antibiotic use, to microbial expansion at death. We address how these successions differ by body site and by domain (bacteria, fungi or viruses). We also review experimental tools that microbiota researchers use to conduct this work. Finally, we discuss future directions for studying the microbiota’s relationship with age, including designing consistent, well-powered, longitudinal studies, performing robust statistical analyses and improving characterization of non-bacterial microorganisms. (Publisher abstract provided)
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