Reader Comments

Post a new comment on this article

Where's the microbiome?

Posted by pschloss on 31 Oct 2013 at 11:36 GMT

Congrats on 10 years to PLoS Biology!

I find it curious that one of the studies you list as a highlight is an anomaly at PLoS Biology. The Pamer et al. study is a superb 16S rRNA-based survey of community microbial community dynamics in the developing infant gut. One reason it is superb is because it clearly lays out the complexity and diversity of the human microbiome at this dynamic stage of life. I consider this study to be an anomaly at PLoS Biology because of the dearth of human microbiome studies to follow. Among the research articles you have published, only 14 have the keyword "microbiome" and among those the majority are reductionist studies that do not consider the entire microbiome as the Pamer et al. study did. By my count, the last community-wide microbiome study you published was Ochman's "Evolutionary Relationships of Wild Hominids Recapitulated by Gut Microbial Communities" in *2010*.

My experience and that of my colleagues in the field has been that these types of papers are being held up by editorial staff and not the scientific community. By excluding these studies either explicitly or accidentally from the virtual pages of PLoS Biology, you are risking your relevance in the broader field. The human microbiome is an exciting, expanding, and very important subject of research. If these types of papers are good enough to show up in Science, Nature, and PNAS, what would it take to get them to show up in PLoS Biology?

Patrick D. Schloss, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
The University of Michigan

No competing interests declared.