New tools for analyzing microbial communities

The June 2020 issue of Journal of Dental Research brings together a collection of the latest research on the oral microbiome. This issue includes reviews and reports of new tools for analyzing microbial communities and for cultivating microbial species.

Through much of the 20th Century, bacteria and other microorganisms were considered to exist predominantly as single cells with independent lifestyles. However, we've learned that from environment to agriculture to energy to healthcare, these microbial communities have deep connections with everything that matters to us, including being the "special extra organ" that lives and grows with our bodies."

Wenyuan Shi, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, Forsyth Institute

Shi is also a JDR Special Issue Guest Editor.

The papers in this issue highlight the rapid progress that has been made over the last decade in understanding the dynamics of the human oral microbiome. Topics include:

  • Reviews and reports of new tools for analyzing microbial communities and for cultivating microbial species, including new members of the Saccharibacteria and other difficult-to-culture taxa
  • The oral microbiome in animal models with a view to understanding the stability of the microbiome and responses to periodontitis
  • The structural and functional characteristics of the human oral microbiome in connection with dental caries, periodontitis or medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw
  • Evidence that the oral microbiome is involved in oral cancer and diabetes mellitus

"This issue is a major contribution to the Oral Microbiome field," Shi continued. "The key goal of the next era of oral microbiome research will be to translate the detailed understanding of the system into practical solutions for predicting, preventing or treating oral microbial diseases."

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