Hunting for foods that can help infants build strong immune systems would traditionally have researchers trial potential foods with infants, then do blood analysis to see if there were positive benefits. We describe a technique that dramatically narrowed the efforts required in identifying potential weaning foods to test a boost of infant immunity in clinical trials.
The prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) that make up the majority of our microbial inhabitants (the microbiota) are known to engage in horizontal gene transfer (HGT) i.e., gene transfer among lineally unrelated individuals. The ‘holobiont’ perspective considers the human (or other macroscopic organism) and the associated microbial community as a composite organism. Can ecological and evolutionary considerations inform our analyses of gene transfer within the prokaryotic component of the microbiota, and do these analyses gain from a holobiontic perspective? This is the theme of my synthetic review published in Microbiome.
Recent studies that demonstrate a striking impact of microbiome composition on the efficacy of certain cancer therapies shed a new light on the the role of the microbiome in cancer development and treatment .