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How and why to integrate the microbiome into your research

Posted by Megan McGrath on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 @ 13:04 PM

So, you’ve just completed your latest human genomics research study and you’re waiting to hear if it has been accepted for publication. In the meantime, you’ve been exploring other hypotheses for health conditions and are interested in the growing field of microbiome and metagenomics research. According to a recent review, genetics explains ~20-50% of observed ‘heritability’ of medically important traits[i] but you’re interested in learning more about what makes up ‘the other 50%’. The dynamic microbiome is impacted by our daily activities and our environment (diet, exercise, sleep etc.) plays an important role in the etiology of chronic diseases not accounted for in GWAS. But there are a few items of interest that have delayed your decision to initiate a microbiome study. At the top of the list is how easy is it to integrate a microbiome study into your workflow? Is your lab set up to take on such a project? And what about the downstream applications and analysis. How different is it from SNP genotyping or whole genome sequencing? You also have to consider that you are used to working with saliva or blood and now you have to get familiar with a new sample type (and possibly an unpleasant one) – like feces.  All these questions are getting into the ‘meat’ of things you consider when taking on your first microbiome project. But let’s back up a little and look at the big picture and find out why the microbiome is an interesting study area to pursue in the first place. Why all this fuss over some microbes? 

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Tags: microbiome, microbiome collection, gut microbiome

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This blog is intended to provide information to educate readers about molecular testing and genetic sample collection and DNA Genotek products.  Some of the information on this blog represents emerging scientific research or data developed for research purposes only. More information here.

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Welcome to The Genetic Link, a blog providing new insights into DNA and RNA sample collection by DNA Genotek. DNA Genotek is a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc.

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