Glossary

commensal organism – Commensal bacteria are part of the normal flora in the mouth. Commensal organisms live in a relationship in which one organism derives food, or other benefits, from another organism without hurting or helping it.1

dysbiosis – Dysbiosis refers to microbial imbalance, which can occur in several different ways. For example, dysbiosis can occur when beneficial organisms are lost, when potentially harmful microorganisms increase, or when there is an overall loss of microbial diversity.2

gene expression profiling – The measurement of the activity (expression) of thousands of genes at once in order to create a global picture of cellular function. For instance, the profiles can be helpful for distinguishing between cells that are actively dividing or for showing how cells react to a certain treatment.3

genome – A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Each genome contains all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism.4

microbiome – The microbiome is defined as the collective genomes of the microbes (composed of bacteria, bacteriophage, fungi, protozoa and viruses) that live inside and on the human body.5

prebiotics – Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers. They act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.6,7 Prebiotics are found in many fruits and vegetables, especially those that contain complex carbohydrates, such as fiber and resistant starch.6

precision medicine – Precision medicine is an approach for disease treatment and prevention that considers genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. Precision medicine will enable doctors and researchers to determine more accurate prevention and treatment strategies for specific diseases in specific groups of people.8

probiotics – Probiotics contain live organisms (usually specific strains of bacteria) that directly add to the population of healthy microbes in the gut. Probiotics can be taken via supplements and food, such as yogurt. Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with different bacteria. Other bacteria-fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi, are also good sources of probiotics.6

symbiosis – The interaction between two (or more) different organisms living in close proximity, typically to the advantage of both.

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