Rapid advances in DNA sequencing, metabolomics, proteomics and computational tools are dramatically increasing access to the microbiome and identification of its links with disease. In particular, time-series studies and multiple molecular perspectives are facilitating microbiome-wide association studies, which are analogous to genome-wide association studies. Early findings point to actionable outcomes of microbiome-wide association studies, although their clinical application has yet to be approved. An appreciation of the complexity of interactions among the microbiome and the host's diet, chemistry and health, as well as determining the frequency of observations that are needed to capture and integrate this dynamic interface, is paramount for developing precision diagnostics and therapies that are based on the microbiome.
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This work and the work in the authors' laboratories that it describes was supported in part by awards from the US National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Energy, the US National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and the US Office of Naval Research.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Gilbert, J., Quinn, R., Debelius, J. et al. Microbiome-wide association studies link dynamic microbial consortia to disease. Nature 535, 94–103 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature18850
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