How longitudinal data can contribute to our understanding of host genetic effects on the gut microbiome

Laura Grieneisen, Ran Blekhman, Elizabeth Archie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A key component of microbiome research is understanding the role of host genetic influence on gut microbial composition. However, it can be difficult to link host genetics with gut microbial composition because host genetic similarity and environmental similarity are often correlated. Longitudinal microbiome data can supplement our understanding of the relative role of genetic processes in the microbiome. These data can reveal environmentally contingent host genetic effects, both in terms of controlling for environmental differences and in comparing how genetic effects differ by environment. Here, we explore four research areas where longitudinal data could lend new insights into host genetic effects on the microbiome: microbial heritability, microbial plasticity, microbial stability, and host and microbiome population genetics. We conclude with a discussion of methodological considerations for future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2178797
JournalGut microbes
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Grand Challenges in Biology Postdoctoral Fellowship to LG; ASPIRE Program Fund to LG; National Institute on Aging under Grant R01 AG071684 to EA; National Science Foundation under Grant DEB 1840223 to EA; and by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences under Grant R35 GM128716 to RB.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Gut microbiome
  • heritability
  • host genetics
  • host-microbiome interactions
  • plasticity
  • time series

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.


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