Developmental trajectory of the healthy human gut microbiota during the first 5 years of life
Journal article, 2021

The gut is inhabited by a densely populated ecosystem, the gut microbiota, that is established at birth. However, the succession by which different bacteria are incorporated into the gut microbiota is still relatively unknown. Here, we analyze the microbiota from 471 Swedish children followed from birth to 5 years of age, collecting samples after 4 and 12 months and at 3 and 5 years of age as well as from their mothers at birth using 16S rRNA gene profiling. We also compare their microbiota to an adult Swedish population. Genera follow 4 different colonization patterns during establishment where Methanobrevibacter and Christensenellaceae colonize late and do not reached adult levels at 5 years. These late colonizers correlate with increased alpha diversity in both children and adults. By following the children through age-specific community types, we observe that children have individual dynamics in the gut microbiota development trajectory.

16S rRNA

infant microbiota


developing microbiota


longitudinal cohort


Josefine Roswall

Hallands Hospital Halmstad

University of Gothenburg

Lisa M. Olsson

Wallenberg Lab.

P. Kovatcheva-Datchary

Wallenberg Lab.

Staffan Nilsson

University of Gothenburg

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences, Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Valentina Tremaroli

Wallenberg Lab.

Marie Christine Simon

Wallenberg Lab.

Pia Kiilerich

University of Copenhagen

Rozita Akrami

Wallenberg Lab.

Manuela Krämer

Wallenberg Lab.

Mathias Uhlen

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Anders Gummesson

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Wallenberg Lab.

Karsten Kristiansen

BGI Institute of Applied Agriculture

University of Copenhagen

Jovanna Dahlgren

University of Gothenburg

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Fredrik Bäckhed

University of Copenhagen

Sahlgrenska University Hospital

Wallenberg Lab.

Cell Host and Microbe

1931-3128 (ISSN) 19346069 (eISSN)

Vol. 29 5 765-776.e3

Subject Categories


Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified

Other Health Sciences





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