Extensive unexplored human microbiome diversity revealed by over 150,000 genomes from metagenomes spanning age, geography, and lifestyle

Edoardo Pasolli, Francesco Asnicar, Serena Manara, Moreno Zolfo, Nicolai Karcher, Federica Armanini, Francesco Beghini, Paolo Manghi, Adrian Tett, Paolo Ghensi, Maria Carmen Collado, Benjamin L. Rice, Casey DuLong, Xochitl C. Morgan, Christopher D. Golden, Christopher Quince, Curtis Huttenhower, Nicola Segata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

795 Citations (Scopus)


The body-wide human microbiome plays a role in health, but its full diversity remains uncharacterized, particularly outside of the gut and in international populations. We leveraged 9,428 metagenomes to reconstruct 154,723 microbial genomes (45% of high quality) spanning body sites, ages, countries, and lifestyles. We recapitulated 4,930 species-level genome bins (SGBs), 77% without genomes in public repositories (unknown SGBs [uSGBs]). uSGBs are prevalent (in 93% of well-assembled samples), expand underrepresented phyla, and are enriched in non-Westernized populations (40% of the total SGBs). We annotated 2.85 M genes in SGBs, many associated with conditions including infant development (94,000) or Westernization (106,000). SGBs and uSGBs permit deeper microbiome analyses and increase the average mappability of metagenomic reads from 67.76% to 87.51% in the gut (median 94.26%) and 65.14% to 82.34% in the mouth. We thus identify thousands of microbial genomes from yet-to-be-named species, expand the pangenomes of human-associated microbes, and allow better exploitation of metagenomic technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-662.e20
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2019


  • human microbiome
  • metagenomic assembly
  • metagenomic mappability
  • metagenomic meta-analysis
  • metagenomics
  • non-Westernized microbiomes
  • unexplored microbial diversity

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