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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2012 Mar 27;10(5):366-72. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2763.

A road map for the development of community systems (CoSy) biology.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, 417 Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0412, USA.


Microbial interactions are essential for all global geochemical cycles and have an important role in human health and disease. Although we possess general knowledge about the major processes within a microbial community, we are presently unable to decipher what role individual microorganisms have and how their individual actions influence others in the community. We also have limited knowledge with which to predict the effects of microbial interactions and community composition on the environment and vice versa. In this Opinion article, we describe how community systems (CoSy) biology will enable us to decode these complex relationships and will therefore improve our understanding of individual members of the community and the modes of interactions in which they engage.

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