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Moving forward with the primate microbiome: Introduction to a special issue of the American Journal of Primatology.

Abstract

Primate microbiome research is a quickly growing field with exciting potential for informing our understanding of primate biology, ecology, and evolution as well as host-microbe interactions more broadly. This introductory essay to a special section of the American Journal of Primatology provides a cross-sectional snapshot of current activity in these areas by briefly summarizing the diversity of contributed papers and their relationships to key themes in host-associated microbiome research. It then uses this survey as a foundation for consolidating a set of key research questions to broadly guide future research. It also argues for the importance of methods standardization to facilitate comparative analyses and the identification of generalizable patterns and relationships. While primatology will benefit greatly from the integration of microbial datasets, it is uniquely positioned to address important questions regarding microbiology and macro-ecology and evolution more generally. We are eager to see where the primate microbiome leads us.

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