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Talking Techniques | Reproducibility in microbiomics

Series 2, Episode 3

Returning to the contentious topic of the reproducibility crisis – the inability of many study results to be replicated by different research groups or labs – this episode, supported by Zymo Research, zeros in on reproducibility in microbiomics.

Speaking to me about the topic is Raul Cano, Chief Scientific Officer at The BioCollective. Raul discusses the crisis and explains why it is prevalent in the emerging field of microbiomics before taking a look at the key role that microbiomics is beginning to play in the field of diagnostics and how – if we make changes now – lasting improvements can be made in the field.

Raul also lays out the three key areas that are holding back reproducibility in microbiomics and explains the actions that can be taken to improve the situation.


  • Introduction: 00:00-02:00
  • Explaining the reproducibility crisis: 02:00-02:55
  • How microbiomics compare to other fields in terms of reproducibility: 02:55-04:05
  • Challenges in reproducibility specific to microbiomics: 04:05-05:45
  • The importance of reproducibility and replicability  in microbiomics: 05:45-07:00
  • Microbiomics in diagnostics: 07:00-10:00
  • Three key causes of poor reproducibility in microbiomics: 10:00-11:30
  • Is detailed documentation improving in the life sciences? 11:30- 13:00
  • Actions that can improve reproducibility: 13:00-14:15
  • Fecal references: 14:15-16:05
  • The realities of preparing fecal references: 16:05-18:1 5
  • The reception to the new fecal references: 18:15-20:35
  • References vs Standards: 20:35-22:15
  • Standardizing microbiomics data: 22:15-23:20
  • Assessing reproducibility in previous studies: 23:20-25:15
  • Dreams for reproducibility in the future of microbiomics: 25:15-26:55

This episode is supported by Zymo Research. If you would like more information about the fecal reference mentioned in the podcast, you can visit the product page here.