Survey the genomes of entire communities

Better understand the role of microbes in human health and disease

Human Microbiome Analysis

Human microbiome analysis is the study of microbial communities found in and on the human body. The goal of human microbiome studies is to understand the role of microbes in health and disease.

Traditionally, studying samples from human skin, stool, or blood relied on time- and labor-intensive microbiology techniques of growing and isolating individual organisms followed by phenotypic or genotypic analysis. Microbial community profiling within a single sample was not possible with these methods.

Introduction to Human Microbiome Analysis

The advent of next-generation sequencing (NGS) enabled several high-profile collaborative projects including the Human Microbiome Project and MetaHIT, which have published a wide range of data on the human microbiome using NGS as a foundational tool.

The throughput and cost savings of NGS have fueled metagenomics studies capable of surveying the genomes of entire communities, including those of unculturable organisms.

Experimental NGS methods for analyzing the human microbiome include:
Shotgun metagenomic sequencing
  • A DNA sequencing method that enables comprehensive sampling of all genes in all organisms in a given complex microbial sample.
16S rRNA sequencing
  • A 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing method used to identify and compare bacteria present within a given sample.
Microbial metatranscriptomics
  • Analysis of all RNAs encoded by a group of microorganisms within a complex sample.
Cancer Microbiome Research

Microbial communities can influence host immune response, affecting cancer progression and treatment efficacy. As NGS-based research continues to explore host–microbiome interactions, there is hope that information about the human microbiome might inform immunotherapeutic strategies.

Learn More
Cancer Microbiome Research
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Cancer and the Oral Microbiome: A Metagenomics Approach
Cancer and the Oral Microbiome: A Metagenomics Approach
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MiSeq, 16S rRNA Sequencing and the American Gut Project
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