Love these QTL experiment where microbe relative abundance is the quantitative trait being studied

Just got pointed to this very interesting paper by one of the authors: Genome-wide mapping of gene–microbiota interactions in susceptibility to autoimmune skin blistering : Nature Communications : Nature Publishing Group.  I really really love this new approach of doing QTL experiments where the quantitative trait being measured is the relative abundance of various microbes.  The first paper of this kind I know of that did such a QTL analysis was Benson et al. 2010 in PNAS in mouse.  There have been a few others using this approach (e.g., Murine gut microbiota is defined by host genetics and modulates variation of metabolic traits) and I am sure we will see many many more.  Basically this approach allows one to identify genes / polymorphisms / regions of the genome in a host that influence the relative abundance of specific microbes.  And such information will be critical in understanding the interactions of microbial communities with hosts.

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

One thought on “Love these QTL experiment where microbe relative abundance is the quantitative trait being studied”

  1. Thanks for posting these, Jonathan. We definitely need more large population level microbiome-QTL studies to associate variations in the microbiota to the host genotype.


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