Edited by Dr Julie Chan
A thematic series in Journal of Biomedical Science.
The human gastrointestinal (GI) tract harbors a large amount of microorganisms, including bacteria, virus, archaea, and fungi, which are collectively defined as the GI microbiota. Presence of commensal bacteria in the GI tract was a long-known fact that did not draw much interest in the gastroenterological field over several decades, except in the cases of intestinal barrier dysfunction and septic complications. This neglected field was put into mainstream research in the post-human genome era, with accumulating evidence showing that GI microbiota is involved not only in the maintenance of physiological homeostasis but also in disease development throughout the body. The research in GI microbiota provides unforeseen molecular and genetic targets to understand the mechanisms of disease progression. However, teasing out the critical player(s) among this complex microbial ecosystem with genes 100-fold higher than those of the host would be a challenge for scientists to be used as novel strategies to treat human diseases. This series is dedicated to reviews that discuss various aspects of host-microbiota interaction in physiological states and in the context of human diseases such as gastrointestinal infection, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancers, and metabolic disorders.