Table 1

Dos and don’ts in microbiome research

Specific hypothesis designed to answer a clinically relevant questionExploratory correlative surveys
Appropriate control populationsNo control population
Incorporation of factors that influence microbiome data (ie, host genes, age, sex, diet, drugs)No acknowledgement of potential confounders
Longitudinal study designCross-sectional study design
Large cohortSmall cohort
Consistent storage and processing of samplesAd hoc storage and processing of samples
Accounting for potential contamination of low biomass samplesProcessing low biomass samples in the same manner as high biomass samples
Correction for multiple hypothesis testingNo correction for multiple hypothesis testing
Publishing raw data and detailed methods (including code) for obtaining resultsNot making raw data and detailed methods publicly available
Interdisciplinary teamLack of expertise
Multiomic approachApproach focused on 16S rRNA data
Discovery and validation cohortsOnly discovery cohort
Preserving samplesDiscarding samples once study is complete