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Tiny microbes, enormous impacts: what matters in gut microbiome studies?

  • Author(s): Debelius, Justine
  • Song, Se Jin
  • Vazquez-Baeza, Yoshiki
  • Xu, Zhenjiang Zech
  • Gonzalez, Antonio
  • Knight, Rob
  • et al.
Abstract

Many factors affect the microbiomes of humans, mice, and other mammals, but substantial challenges remain in determining which of these factors are of practical importance. Considering the relative effect sizes of both biological and technical covariates can help improve study design and the quality of biological conclusions. Care must be taken to avoid technical bias that can lead to incorrect biological conclusions. The presentation of quantitative effect sizes in addition to P values will improve our ability to perform meta-analysis and to evaluate potentially relevant biological effects. A better consideration of effect size and statistical power will lead to more robust biological conclusions in microbiome studies.

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