Science | What makes the gut microbiome stable?
Classically, we think of our microbiome as stable, benign, and cooperative. Recent experimental work is beginning to unpick essential functions that can be attributed to the stable microbiota of humans. To be able to manipulate the microbiome to improve health, we need to understand community structure and composition and we need models to quantify and predict stability. Coyte et al. applied concepts and tools from community ecology to gut microbiome assembly. Independently developed models converged on a surprising answer: A high diversity of species is likely to coexist stably when the system is dominated by competitive, rather than cooperative, interactions.