Developments in high-throughput microbial genomic sequencing and other systems biology techniques have given novel insight into the potential contribution of the gut microbiota to health and disease. As a result, an increasing number of diseases have been characterised by distinctive changes in the composition and functionality of the gut microbiota; however, whether such changes are cause, consequence, or incidental to the disease in question remains largely uncertain. Restoration of the gut microbiota to a premorbid state is a key novel therapeutic approach of interest, and faecal microbiota transplantation—the transfer of prescreened stool from healthy donors into the gastrointestinal tract of patients—is gaining increasing importance in both the clinical and research settings. At present, faecal microbiota transplantation is only recommended in the treatment of recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection, although a large number of trials are ongoing worldwide exploring other potential therapeutic indications.
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