Molecular characterization of the human microbiome from a reproductive perspective

Capsule:
Advances in DNA sequencing have led to the understanding that the reproductive tract harbors a symbiotic microbiome. Recent methods for the study of the microbiome in reproduction raise new questions.

Authors:
Amir Mor, M.D., Ph.D., Paul H. Driggers, Ph.D., James H. Segars, M.D.

Volume 104, Issue 6, Pages 1344-1350

Abstract:

The process of reproduction inherently poses unique microbial challenges because it requires the transfer of gametes from one individual to the other, erstwhile preserving the integrity of the gametes and individuals from harmful microbes during the process. Advances in molecular biology techniques have expanded our understanding of the natural organisms living on and in our bodies, including those inhabiting the reproductive tract. Over the past two decades accumulating evidence has shown that the human microbiome is tightly related to health in disease states involving the different body systems, including the reproductive system. Here we introduce the science involved in the study of the human microbiome. We examine common methods currently used to characterize the human microbiome as an inseparable part of the reproductive system. Finally, we consider a few limitations, clinical implications, and the critical need for additional research in the field of human fertility.

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