The human gut microbiome of Latin America populations: a landscape to be discovered

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Purpose of review

The gut microbiome is critical for human health, and its alteration is associated with intestinal, autoimmune and metabolic diseases. Numerous studies have focused on prevention or treatment of dysbiotic microbiome to reduce the risk or effect of these diseases. A key issue is to define the microbiome associated with the state of good health. The purpose of this review is to describe factors influencing the gut microbiome with special emphasis on contributions from Latin America. In addition, we will highlight opportunities for future studies on gut microbiome in Latin America.

Recent findings

A relevant factor influencing gut microbiome composition is geographical location associated with specific genetic, dietary and lifestyle factors. Geographical specificities suggest that a universal ‘healthy microbiome’ is unlikely.


Several research programs, mostly from Europe and North America, are extensively sequencing gut microbiome of healthy people, whereas data from Latin America remain scarce yet slowly increasing. Few studies have shown difference in the composition of gut microbiome between their local populations with that of other industrialized countries (North American populations). Latin America is composed of countries with a myriad of lifestyles, traditions, genetic backgrounds and socioeconomic conditions, which may determine differences in gut microbiome of individuals from different countries. This represents an opportunity to better understand the relationship between these factors and gut microbiome.

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