Metagenome wide association studies: data mining the microbiome

Contributed by Darwin Bandoy, DVM

Increased sequencing capability offers an unprecedented look into the microbiome and the association with complex diseases. Associations are mined to determine the changes occurring with microbiome and metabolic conditions like diabetes and obesity, as well as chronic diseases such as colorectal cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. While initially microbial community membership was determined, more current approaches determine functional upregulation or depletion. The current challenge is mostly bioinformatics as the data dimensionality is high and the technical interpretation difficult. This is where machine learning is working beautifully and elegantly, and I am currently working on making this more intuitive to use.

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