The Microbiome Quality Control project
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The best projects are never done, and the MBQC is no exception. If you're interested in contributing above and beyond the standard assessment modules, the following items are needed for the MBQC and/or in progress now:
- Recurring open conference call. We're planning on starting a recurring (monthly?) open call for all MBQC participants.
- Participation agreement. While the MBQC-pilot is informal, we're developing data sharing and participation agreement the be applied to future phases.
- Metadata guidelines for submitted samples. Which MIxS-derived standards should be provided with MBQC samples, in what format?
- Protocol templates. Many steps within each MBQC module are rarely varied among labs, while others frequently differ. Identifying these and templatizing the remainder of the protocols would simplify participation in the project.
- Documentation standards. Projects such as STROBE have provided checklists for study reporting and reproducibility guidelines. The MBQC could use the same.
- Quality criteria. Current MBQC results include only descriptive comparisons, but each module may also be associated with objective quality criteria (e.g. base quality, percent human-associated OTUs, etc.)
- Reference materials. Notice that none of the MBQC prototype samples have a "right" answer? Designing defined input microbial communities is a tough challenge to be tackled before the next phase of the MBQC.
- Industry participation. If you market a product that's used in human microbiome studies, from swabs to sequencers, we'd love to hear from you.