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Dermatology Online Journal

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A review of next generation sequencing technologies used in the evaluation of the skin microbiome: what a time to be alive


The role of the microbiome in healthy and disease states of the human body is progressively being found to extend beyond the gastrointestinal tract and into other organ systems such as the skin. Researching the microbiome thus has become paramount to understanding additional physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms that may be at play between microbes and their hosts. Cell cultures have traditionally been used to study the microbiome, but in our current day and age, advanced metagenomic techniques - such as 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing and whole metagenomic shotgun sequencing - are better able to classify the microorganisms making up the microbiome. Utilizing metagenomics alone, however, does not allow for the study of the more complex effects of the microbiome, such as changes in gene expression and metabolic byproducts. Thus, incorporation of other modalities such as metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics, and metabolomics are needed to further elucidate the extensive intricacies of the skin microbiome.

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