Insights into the pan-microbiome : Skin microbial communities of Chinese individuals differ from other racial groups

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Original languageEnglish
Article number11845
Journal / PublicationScientific Reports
Online published16 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015



Many studies have characterized microbiomes of western individuals. However, studies involving non-westerners are scarce. This study characterizes the skin microbiomes of Chinese individuals. Skin-Associated genera, including Propionibacterium, Corynebacterium, Staphylococcus, and Enhydrobacter were prevalent. Extensive inter-individual microbiome variations were detected, with core genera present in all individuals constituting a minority of genera detected. Species-level analyses presented dominance of potential opportunistic pathogens in respective genera. Host properties including age, gender, and household were associated with variations in community structure. For all sampled sites, skin microbiomes within an individual is more similar than that of different co-habiting individuals, which is in turn more similar than individuals living in different households. Network analyses highlighted general and skin-site specific relationships between genera. Comparison of microbiomes from different population groups revealed race-based clustering explained by community membership (Global Ra €‰=a €‰0.968) and structure (Global Ra €‰=a €‰0.589), contributing to enlargement of the skin pan-microbiome. This study provides the foundation for subsequent in-depth characterization and microbial interactive analyses on the skin and other parts of the human body in different racial groups, and an appreciation that the human skin pan-microbiome can be much larger than that of a single population.

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