Evolutionary biology and anthropology suggest biome reconstitution as a necessary approach toward dealing with immune disorders.

Journal Article

Industrialized society currently faces a wide range of non-infectious, immune-related pandemics. These pandemics include a variety of autoimmune, inflammatory and allergic diseases that are often associated with common environmental triggers and with genetic predisposition, but that do not occur in developing societies. In this review, we briefly present the idea that these pandemics are due to a limited number of evolutionary mismatches, the most damaging being 'biome depletion'. This particular mismatch involves the loss of species from the ecosystem of the human body, the human biome, many of which have traditionally been classified as parasites, although some may actually be commensal or even mutualistic. This view, evolved from the 'hygiene hypothesis', encompasses a broad ecological and evolutionary perspective that considers host-symbiont relations as plastic, changing through ecological space and evolutionary time. Fortunately, this perspective provides a blueprint, termed 'biome reconstitution', for disease treatment and especially for disease prevention. Biome reconstitution includes the controlled and population-wide reintroduction (i.e. domestication) of selected species that have been all but eradicated from the human biome in industrialized society and holds great promise for the elimination of pandemics of allergic, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Parker, W; Ollerton, J

Published Date

  • January 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 2013 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 89 - 103

PubMed ID

  • 24481190

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2050-6201

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2050-6201

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/emph/eot008

Language

  • eng