The Human Microbiome Project, which has sequenced 300 individuals’ microbiomes, has brought real insights into what they do and how they can affect human disease and health.
Improvements in DNA sequencing technology can identify the indicators of a healthy microbiota. Deviations can then be tracked to understand an individual’s risk of disease at different points in their life. This means personalised treatment through precise modification of an individual’s microbiota may soon be achievable.
Looking to the future, the microbiota will increasingly be used to tackle and prevent many diseases including those in crops and chronic human illnesses. The role of the microbiota in health is leading to new insights into diseases and providing ways to uncover new targets for drugs and ways to use bacteria to treat infection.
With an ever growing antibacterial culture, we are isolating ourselves from the good microbes as well as the bad. In some cases this is leading to their extinction and we do not yet understand the impact. That means education and public perception will be key to ensuring the potential of the microbiome is realised.