Accounting for reciprocal host-microbiome interactions in experimental science

Nature. 2016 Jun 9;534(7606):191-9. doi: 10.1038/nature18285.


Mammals are defined by their metagenome, a combination of host and microbiome genes. This knowledge presents opportunities to further basic biology with translation to human diseases. However, the now-documented influence of the metagenome on experimental results and the reproducibility of in vivo mammalian models present new challenges. Here we provide the scientific basis for calling on all investigators, editors and funding agencies to embrace changes that will enhance reproducible and interpretable experiments by accounting for metagenomic effects. Implementation of new reporting and experimental design principles will improve experimental work, speed discovery and translation, and properly use substantial investments in biomedical research.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / methods*
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Fecal Microbiota Transplantation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metagenome / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Microbiota / genetics*
  • Models, Animal
  • Phenotype
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA