Metagenomics and personalized medicine.
Virgin HW., Todd JA.
The microbiome is a complex community of Bacteria, Archaea, Eukarya, and viruses that infect humans and live in our tissues. It contributes the majority of genetic information to our metagenome and, consequently, influences our resistance and susceptibility to diseases, especially common inflammatory diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease. Here we discuss how host-gene-microbial interactions are major determinants for the development of these multifactorial chronic disorders and, thus, for the relationship between genotype and phenotype. We also explore how genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases are uncovering mechanism-based subtypes for these disorders. Applying these emerging concepts will permit a more complete understanding of the etiologies of complex diseases and underpin the development of both next-generation animal models and new therapeutic strategies for targeting personalized disease phenotypes.