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The gut microbiota, the trillions of microbes that inhabit the human intestine, is a complex ecological community that influences both normal physiology and disease susceptibilities.

Understanding the factors that underly compositional and functional changes will help us design therapies that target the gut microbiota. It’s a pretty formidable goal because of the immense diversity of the microbiota, interpersonal variation and temporal fluctuations in composition, especially during disease and early development.

This author manuscript describes recent advances in understanding gut microbiota from an ecological perspective, and discusses how these insights might promote health by guiding therapeutic strategy development.

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