A scale-free, fully connected global transition network underlies known microbiome diversity


Microbiomes are inherently linked by their structural similarity, yet the global features of such similarity are not clear. Here, we propose as a solution a search-based microbiome transition network. By traversing a composition-similarity-based network of 177,022 microbiomes, we show that although the compositions are distinct by habitat, each microbiome is on-average only seven neighbors from any other microbiome on Earth, indicating the inherent homology of microbiomes at the global scale. This network is scale-free, suggesting a high degree of stability and robustness in microbiome transition. By tracking the minimum spanning tree in this network, a global roadmap of microbiome dispersal was derived that tracks the potential paths of formulating and propagating microbiome diversity. Such search-based global microbiome networks, reconstructed within hours on just one computing node, provide a readily expanded reference for tracing the origin and evolution of existing or new microbiomes.

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