Our understanding of the human gut microbiome has grown exponentially. Advances in genome sequencing technologies and metagenomics analysis have enabled researchers to study microbial communities and their potential function within the context of a range of human gut related diseases and disorders. However, up until recently, much of this research has focused on characterizing the gut microbiological community structure and understanding its potential through system wide (meta) genomic and transcriptomic-based studies. Thus far, the functional output of these microbiomes, in terms of protein and metabolite expression, and within the broader context of host-gut microbiome interactions, has been limited. Furthermore, these studies highlight our need to address the issues of individual variation, and of samples as proxies. Here we provide a perspective review of the recent literature that focuses on the challenges of exploring the human gut microbiome, with a strong focus on an integrated perspective applied to these themes. In doing so, we contextualize the experimental and technical challenges of undertaking such studies and provide a framework for capitalizing on the breadth of insight such approaches afford. An integrated perspective of the human gut microbiome and the linkages to human health will pave the way forward for delivering against the objectives of precision medicine, which is targeted to specific individuals and addresses the issues and mechanisms in situ.
- Omics integration