April 2018, Volume 24 No 4 pp375-526
Current understanding of the human microbiome – pp392 – 400
Jack A Gilbert, Martin J Blaser, J Gregory Caporaso, Janet K Jansson, Susan V Lynch & Rob Knight
Our understanding of the link between the human microbiome and disease, including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis and autism, is rapidly expanding. Improvements in the throughput and accuracy of DNA sequencing of the genomes of microbial communities that are associated with human samples, complemented by analysis of transcriptomes, proteomes, metabolomes and immunomes and by mechanistic experiments in model systems, have vastly improved our ability to understand the structure and function of the microbiome in both diseased and healthy states. However, many challenges remain. In this review, we focus on studies in humans to describe these challenges and propose strategies that leverage existing knowledge to move rapidly from correlation to causation and ultimately to translation into therapies.