American Gut: an Open Platform for Citizen-Science Microbiome Research
: The human microbiome is diverse, variable across individuals, and tremendously important for human health. The Human Microbiome Project provided an initial perspective from 242 healthy human adults, who had strikingly different microbiomes than humans living in non-western cultures. However, the full extent of human microbiome diversity is not characterized even in developed countries, and a broader and a representative dataset is critical as a resource for the research and medical communities. The American Gut Project is the largest crowdfunded citizen-science project, generating >130,000,000 sequences from >5,000 samples from 4,218 participants, who range broadly in dietary habits, Body Mass Index, activity levels, medications, and age. We bring technologies developed for the Human Microbiome Project to the general public with the goals of empowering citizen scientists with knowledge about their microbiomes, while developing a large, open-source, and diverse human microbiome database for human medicine. One Sentence Summary: The American Gut Project has sequenced microbial DNA from thousands of human fecal samples, offering an unparalleled perspective into what affects the microbiome on a population scale.