The emergence of NGS is revolutionizing the microbiological sciences and transforming medicine. Deep sequencing has revealed that virtually all environments, including the human body, are teeming with diverse microbial communities. While microbes have predominantly been studied in the context of pathogenicity, it is now evident that the human microbiota contributes biological functions essential to health. Conversely, disrupting the microbiota host homeostasis in healthy individuals can lead to dysbiosis and is associated with many diseases and pathologies.
As a consequence, research into the human microbiome has started to transform the healthcare landscape providing novel approaches for diagnostics and therapeutics. Other areas benefitting from metagenomics include biological safety of food and water. And in agriculture, changes in soil and in animal microbiomes can now be evaluated in the context of crop yield, livestock health, and reduced dependency on herbicides, pesticides, and antibiotics.
However, translating microbiome research into routine applications depends on robust methods for data generation and interpretation. Yet, metagenomic sequencing is uniquely vulnerable to the introduction of bias and contamination creating a need for standardized workflows and controls.
In this presentation, the transformative application of microbiome analysis in diagnostics, drug development, public health, agriculture, and water safety will be discussed. Potential error modes and strategies to control the sequencing and analysis workflow will be surveyed.
How to standardize NGS library preparation
Premises for reliable microbiome data
How to implement laboratory automation in your lab