Gut Microbial Intersections with Human Ecology and Evolution

Katherine R. Amato, Rachel N. Carmody

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although microbiome science is relatively young, our knowledge of human-microbiome interactions is growing rapidly and has already begun to transform our understanding of human ecology and evolution. Here we summarize our current understanding of three-way interactions between the gut microbiota, human ecology, and human evolution. We review the factors driving microbiome variation within and between individuals and populations, as well as comparative data from nonhuman primates that allow a more direct examination of microbial relationships with host ecology and evolution. Collectively, these data sets can help illuminate generalizable principles governing host-microbiome-environment interactions, the processes contributing to bidirectional influences between the human gut microbiota and the human ecological niche, and past changes in the human microbiome that may have harbored consequences for human adaptation. Developing richer insight into host-microbiome-environment interactions will ultimately broaden our view of human biology and its response to changing environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-311
Number of pages17
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
StatePublished - Oct 23 2023


  • host-microbial interactions
  • microbiotacmicrobiome
  • nonhuman primates
  • phenotypic variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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