Meta-analysis of human genome-microbiome association studies: The MiBioGen consortium initiative

Jun Wang, Alexander Kurilshikov, Djawad Radjabzadeh, Williams Turpin, Kenneth Croitoru, Marc Jan Bonder, Matthew A. Jackson, Carolina Medina-Gomez, Fabian Frost, Georg Homuth, Malte Rühlemann, David Hughes, Han Na Kim, Tim D. Spector, Jordana T. Bell, Claire J. Steves, Nicolas Timpson, Andre Franke, Cisca Wijmenga, Katie MeyerTim Kacprowski, Lude Franke, Andrew D. Paterson, Jeroen Raes, Robert Kraaij, Alexandra Zhernakova, Tarun Ahluwalia, Elad Barkan, Larbi Bedrani, Hans Bisgaard, Michael Boehnke, Klaus Bønnelykke, Dorret I. Boomsma, Kenneth Croitoru, Gareth E. Davies, Eco de Geus, Frauke Degenhardt, Mauro D’amato, Erik A. Ehli, Osvaldo Espin-Garcia, Casey T. Finnicum, Myriam Fornage, Fabian Frost, Jingyuan Fu, Femke A. Heinsen, Georg Homuth, Richard Ijzerman, Matthew A. Jackson, Leon Eyrich Jessen, Daisy Jonkers, Tim Kacprowski, Hyung Lae Kim, Robert Kraaij, Markku Laakso, Lenore Launer, Markus M. Lerch, Kreete Lüll, Aldons J. Lusis, Massimo Mangino, Julia Mayerle, Hamdi Mbarek, Maria Carolina Medina, Katie Meyer, Karen L. Mohlke, Elin Org, Andrew Paterson, Haydeh Payami, Djawad Radjabzadeh, Jeroen Raes, Daphna Rothschild, Malte Rühle-Mann, Serena Sanna, Eran Segal, Shiraz Shah, Michelle Smith, Jakob Stokholm, Joanna W. Szopinska, Jonathan Thorsen, Nicolas Timpson, Williams Turpin, André G. Uit-Terlinden, Alejandro Arias Vasquez, Henry Völzke, Urmo Vosa, Zachary Wallen, Jun Wang, Frank Ulrich Weiss, Omer Weissbrod, Cisca Wijmenga, Gonneke Willemsen, Wei Xu, Yeojun Yun

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Background: In recent years, human microbiota, especially gut microbiota, have emerged as an important yet complex trait influencing human metabolism, immunology, and diseases. Many studies are investigating the forces underlying the observed variation, including the human genetic variants that shape human microbiota. Several preliminary genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have been completed, but more are necessary to achieve a fuller picture. Results: Here, we announce the MiBioGen consortium initiative, which has assembled 18 population-level cohorts and some 19,000 participants. Its aim is to generate new knowledge for the rapidly developing field of microbiota research. Each cohort has surveyed the gut microbiome via 16S rRNA sequencing and genotyped their participants with full-genome SNP arrays. We have standardized the analytical pipelines for both the microbiota phenotypes and genotypes, and all the data have been processed using identical approaches. Our analysis of microbiome composition shows that we can reduce the potential artifacts introduced by technical differences in generating microbiota data. We are now in the process of benchmarking the association tests and performing meta-analyses of genome-wide associations. All pipeline and summary statistics results will be shared using public data repositories. Conclusion: We present the largest consortium to date devoted to microbiota-GWAS. We have adapted our analytical pipelines to suit multi-cohort analyses and expect to gain insight into host-microbiota cross-talk at the genome-wide level. And, as an open consortium, we invite more cohorts to join us (by contacting one of the corresponding authors) and to follow the analytical pipeline we have developed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


  • Genome-wide association studies (GWAS)
  • Gut microbiome
  • Meta-analysis


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