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We commend the editors of Gut for publishing the article by Hugerth et al 1 given that negative results are conspicuously missing from the microbiome literature. The paper reports that in a randomly recruited Swedish cohort of individuals meeting Rome IV criteria for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), there was marked heterogeneity of the gut microbiota, but no distinct ‘signature’ was evident. However, some qualifying caveats for future research are worth highlighting.
First, while the overall pool of study subjects was drawn from a large population of volunteers, the actual numbers studied by Hugerth et al 1 with respect to IBS were modest: 63 sigmoid biopsy samples from confirmed IBS cases, and 32 …
Contributors All authors contributed equally.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests IBJ, FS and PWO are founders 4D Pharma Cork Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of 4D Pharma plc, a company developing live biotherapeutics for diseases including Blautix, which is in clinical trials for irritable bowel syndrome.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.