Since the discovery of Polymerase Chain Reaction and pioneering work on 16S ribosomal RNA genes in the 1980’s, the use of molecular techniques to study microbial ecosystems and pathogenic microorganisms has been increasing exponentially. Because microbial communities inhabiting various body sites such as the skin or the intestine can influence our physiology, there has been a massive interest in studying their diversity, functions, and role in the development of acute and chronic diseases. Area covered: In the present review, we gather knowledge on sequencing approaches to study microbial communities, especially human body microbiota, and give opinions on their potential and limitations, particularly with respect to clinical applications. Expert commentary: High-throughput sequencing delivered unprecedented views on complex microbial communities, but their popularization is accompanied by substantial technical hurdles that will need to be overcome for efficient implementation in routine clinical procedures.
Microbiome sequencing: challenges and opportunities for molecular medicine.