Smith MI, Turpin W, Tyler AD, Silverberg MS, Croitoru K.
F1000Prime Rep. 2014 Jul 8;6:51. doi: 10.12703/P6-51. eCollection 2014.
The development of culture-independent techniques and next-generation sequencing has led to a staggering rise in the number of microbiome studies over the last decade. Although it remains important to identify the taxa of microbes present in a variety of environmental samples, including the gut microbiomes of healthy and diseased individuals, the next stage of microbiome research will need to focus on uncovering the role of the microbiome rather than its mere composition. Here, we introduce techniques that go beyond identifying the taxa present within a sample and examine the biological function of the microbiome or the host-microbiome interaction.