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The Oral Microbiome & Systemic Disease

Course Number: 561

Diagnostic Methods for Microbiome Analysis

Ribosomal RNA gene profiling has been one of the major reasons scientists have been able to identify components of the oral microbiome. For years, study of the microbiome was limited to organisms that could be grown or cultured in a lab. This was a significant drawback, because if an organism could not be grown, it could not be studied in order to determine what impact it has on oral health. The use of ribosomal RNA gene profiling has not only demonstrated that there are numerous organisms that make up the oral microbiome, but it has also enabled greater understanding of the profile of genetic material. In 2010, the Human Oral Microbiome database was launched. Basically, the database contains a library of genetic material that can be matched to existing or known profiles. As molecular techniques have improved, there are now less costly and faster methods to sequence and identify components of the oral microbiome. Next generation sequencing (NGS) has allowed scientists to perform analysis more efficiently with less cost, thus moving potential understanding along much faster. These techniques have prompted the discovery of over 770 different taxa of microbes to date and have helped house genetic material in a database that can be used to study the oral microbiome more closely.