Interrogating the microbiome: experimental and computational considerations in support of study reproducibility

Drug Discov Today. 2018 Sep;23(9):1644-1657. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2018.06.005. Epub 2018 Jun 8.


The microbiome is an important factor in human health and disease and is investigated to develop novel therapeutics. Metagenomics leverages advances in sequencing technologies and computational analysis to identify and quantify the microorganisms present in a sample. This field has, however, not yet reached maturity and the international metagenomics community, aware of the current limitations and of the necessity for standardization, has started investigating sources of variability in experimental and computational workflows. The first studies have already resulted in the identification of crucial steps and factors affecting metagenomics data quality, quantification and interpretation. This review summarizes experimental and computational considerations for interrogating the microbiome and establishing reproducible and robust analysis workflows.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Data Accuracy
  • Humans
  • Metagenome* / genetics
  • Metagenomics / methods*
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design*
  • Workflow