The host genotype affects the bacterial community in the human gastrointestinal tract

E.G. Zoetendal, A.D.L. Akkermans, W.M. Akkermans-van Vliet, J.A.G.M. de Visser, W.M. de Vos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

475 Citations (Scopus)


The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is one of the most complex ecosystems consisting of microbial and host cells. It is suggested that the host genotype, the physiology of the host and environmental factors affect the composition and function of the bacterial community in the intestine. However, the relative impact of these factors is unknown. In this study, we used a culture-independent approach to analyze the bacterial composition in the GI tract. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles of fecal bacterial 16S rDNA amplicons from adult humans with varying degrees of genetic relatedness were compared by determining the similarity indices of the profiles compared. The similarity between fecal DGGE profiles of monozygotic twins were significantly higher than those for unrelated individuals (ts = 2.73, p1-tail = 0.0063, df=21). In addition, a positive relationship (F1, 30 = 8.63, p = 0.0063) between the similarity indices and the genetic relatedness of the hosts was observed. In contrast, fecal DGGE profiles of marital partners, which are living in the same environment and which have comparable feeding habits, showed low similarity which was not significantly different from that of unrelated individuals (ts = 1.03, p1-tail = 0.1561, df=27). Our data indicate that factors related to the host genotype have an important effect on determining the bacterial composition in the GI tract.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
JournalMicrobial Ecology in Health and Disease
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • 16S rDNA
  • Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis
  • Host genotytpe
  • Human GI tract


Dive into the research topics of 'The host genotype affects the bacterial community in the human gastrointestinal tract'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this