To understand the role of gut microbes in host health, it is imperative to probe their genetic potential, expression, and ecological status. The current high-throughput sequencing revolution, in addition to advances in mass spectrometry-based proteomics, have recently enabled deep access to these complex environments, and are revealing important insights into the roles of the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota in host physiology and health. This review discusses examples of how the integration of cutting-edge 'meta-omics' technologies are providing new knowledge about the relationships between host health status in mammals and the microbes inhabiting the GI tract. In addition, we address some promises that these techniques hold for future therapeutic and diagnostic applications.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.