microbiome

noun
mi·​cro·​bi·​ome | \ˌmī-krō-ˈbī-ˌōm \

Definition of microbiome 

1 : a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome.— Carl Zimmer … what's arguably become the hottest area of medicine: microbiome research, an emerging field that's investigating how the bacteria that live in and on our bodies affect our health.— Sunny Sea Gold

2 : the collective genomes of microorganisms inhabiting a particular environment and especially the human body They form one community among the many that make up the human microbiome: the full genetic complement of bacteria and other organisms at home on your skin, gums, and teeth, in your genital tract, and especially in your gut.— Nathan Wolfe

Examples of microbiome in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

These cellular cyborgs could one day step in when your body falls short in its attempts to hunt cancer cells, tamp down overactive immune responses or adjust the gut microbiome. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 2018 Thus, successful probiotics may have to be custom designed for individual microbiomes. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Probiotics: If you don’t just poop them out, they may muck up your guts," 8 Sep. 2018 Although there is still much to learn, there is hope that in the future researchers will be able to use the microbiome to treat diseases. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Gut Feeling: To Stay Healthy, Keep Your Body’s Microbes in Line," 17 Aug. 2018 Moving forward, researchers hope to reconstruct the Iceman’s gut microbiome and find out how the bacteria in his belly compares to that of modern humans. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Before He Died, Ötzi the Iceman Ate a Greasy, Fatty Meal," 13 July 2018 Albert Palleja and colleagues first collected stool samples from 12 healthy men to see what their microbiomes looked like at the start. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Gut bacteria recover from antibiotics, but they may take six months," 28 Oct. 2018 But Ahn is confident that her research shows alcohol’s influence on the microbiome. Jason Lemon, ajc, "Heavy drinking may increase 'bad' bacteria in your mouth, study finds," 30 Apr. 2018 Ahn’s team set out to determine whether some or all of these various types of damage are due to alcohol’s effect on the microbiome in the mouth. NBC News, "Beer breath: Drinking alcohol may give you more than bad breath," 24 Apr. 2018 For 2 years, his team will track the microbiomes and health of the preemies. Marla Broadfoot, Science | AAAS, "Too many antibiotics can give preemies a lifetime of ill health," 5 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'microbiome.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of microbiome

1952, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for microbiome

micro- + biome

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7 Dec 2018

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The first known use of microbiome was in 1952

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microbiome

noun
mi·​cro·​bi·​ome | \ˌmī-krō-ˈbī-ˌōm \

Medical Definition of microbiome 

1 : a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body The intestinal microbiome consists of the microorganisms that inhabit the gut.— Clara Abraham et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 19 Nov. 2009 Collectively known as the microbiome, this community may play a role in regulating one's risk of obesity, asthma and allergies.— Carrie Arnold, Scientific American, March 2012 The human oral microbiome comprises all microbial species in the oral cavity.— Naomi P. O'Grady, The Journal of the American Medical Association, 20 June 2012

2 : the collective genomes of microorganisms inhabiting a particular environment and especially the human body As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project, the lab sequenced my microbiome—that is, the genes not of “me,” exactly, but of the several hundred microbial species with whom I share this body.— Michael Pollan, The New York Times, 19 May 2013 Together, the genomes of these microbial symbionts (collectively defined as the microbiome) provide traits that humans did not need to evolve on their own.— Peter J. Turnbaugh et al., Nature, 18 Oct. 2007

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