Yale J Biol Med Microbiome Issue

Just a quick post before going to my volunteering job at an elementary school teaching science: The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine’s September Issue is dedicated to the microbiome. The papers are all Open Access via PubMed Central.

The September issue features reviews, a case report, and some book reviews. Contributions made by Stephanie Schnorr, Catherine Lozupone, and many others.

I contributed as well, with the following review paper. Note that the PDF is 67 MB, but this link goes to the HTML page.

The Hoops, Hopes, and Hypes of Human Microbiome Research – Elisabeth M. Bik – Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine

Recent developments in sequencing methods and bioinformatics analysis tools have greatly enabled the culture-independent analysis of complex microbial communities associated with environmental samples, plants, and animals. This has led to a spectacular increase in the number of studies on both membership and functionalities of these hitherto invisible worlds, in particular those of the human microbiome. The wide variety in available microbiome tools and platforms can be overwhelming, and making sound conclusions from scientific research can be challenging. Here, I will review 1) the methodological and analytic hoops a good microbiome study has to jump through, including DNA extraction and choice of bioinformatics tools, 2) the hopes this field has generated for diseases such as autism and inflammatory bowel diseases, and 3) some of the hypes that it has created, e.g., by confusing correlation and causation, and the recent pseudoscientific commercialization of microbiome research.

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