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Obesity and its associated diseases are one of the major causes of death worldwide. The gut microbiota has been identified to have essential regulatory effects on human metabolism and obesity in particular. In a recent study we provided some insights into the link between the gut microbiota (GM) and adiposity, as well as host genetic modulation of these processes. Our results identify novel evidence of association between 6 adiposity phenotypes and faecal microbial operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Accumulation of visceral fat, a key risk factor for cardio-metabolic disease, has the strongest and most pervasive signature on the gut microbiota of the factors we examined. Furthermore, we observe that the adiposity-associated OTUs were classified as heritable and in some cases were also associated with host genetic variation at obesity-associated human candidate genes FHIT, TDRG1 and ELAVL4. This addendum confirms our previously published results in the TwinsUK cohort using a different approach to OTU clustering and multivariate analysis, and discusses further the importance of considering the GM as a complex ecosystem.

Original publication




Journal article


Gut Microbes

Publication Date





61 - 67


gut microbiome, heritability, obesity, visceral fat mass, Bacteria, Biodiversity, Cluster Analysis, Cohort Studies, Feces, Gastrointestinal Microbiome, Humans, Intra-Abdominal Fat, Multivariate Analysis, Obesity, Phenotype, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S, Risk Factors, United Kingdom