Big Data from World’s Largest Citizen Science Microbiome Project Serves Food for Thought

This is about 18 months old, but it is worth looking at again, given all of the hype in the popular press about gut health in 2019.

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and collaborators have published the first major results from the American Gut Project, a crowdsourced, global citizen science effort.

— Read on

The preliminary conclusions are that there’s a lot more that we don’t know about the microbiome than we do.

A lot of justifiable criticism has been leveled at the people who jumped into quickly to promote the concept of SNP analysis as a basis for lifestyle recommendations. Serious geneticists have called that approach highly questionable. Recent reports from several journalists have shown that the recommendations vary widely from company to company, and even sending in the same sample to the same company multiple times can yield different results.

So, we need to be very cautious about making the same mistake with the microbiome. I believe it is premature at this point to make personalized recommendations to patients or clients based on genetic testing or microbiome analysis.