Sequencing the human microbiome could lead to exciting and important discoveries for human health, says Ed Yong at Nature News. But researchers working with the microbiome should learn the lessons of genome research past, and avoid overhyping their work, he adds.
At the International Human Microbiome Congress in Paris last week, University of British Columbia microbiologist Julian Davies called microbiome research "the biggest life science project of all time." But others, like University of California, Davis, microbiologist Jonathan Eisen, worry that microbiome research could suffer the same backlash as the Human Genome Project, when many criticized the field for not producing actionable discoveries quickly enough. "Without a doubt we are running into some of the same problems as the Human Genome Project," Eisen tells Yong. "There are many people who have oversold the human microbiome as the cause or cure of everything."