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Scientists call for new tools to explore the world's microbiomes

Date:
January 6, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In October, an interdisciplinary group of scientists proposed forming a Unified Microbiome Initiative (UMI) to explore the world of microorganisms that are central to life on Earth and yet largely remain a mystery. A new article describes the tools scientists will need to understand how microbes interact with each other and with us.
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FULL STORY

In October, an interdisciplinary group of scientists proposed forming a Unified Microbiome Initiative (UMI) to explore the world of microorganisms that are central to life on Earth and yet largely remain a mystery. An article in the journal ACS Nano describes the tools scientists will need to understand how microbes interact with each other and with us.

Microbes live just about everywhere: in the oceans, in the soil, in the atmosphere, in forests and in and on our bodies. Research has demonstrated that their influence ranges widely and profoundly, from affecting human health to the climate. But scientists don't have the necessary tools to characterize communities of microbes, called microbiomes, and how they function. Rob Knight, Jeff F. Miller, Paul S. Weiss and colleagues detail what these technological needs are.

The researchers are seeking the development of advanced tools in bioinformatics, high-resolution imaging, and the sequencing of microbial macromolecules and metabolites. They say that such technology would enable scientists to gain a deeper understanding of microbiomes. Armed with new knowledge, they could then tackle related medical and other challenges with greater agility than what is possible today.

The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julie S. Biteen, Paul C. Blainey, Zoe G. Cardon, Miyoung Chun, George M. Church, Pieter C. Dorrestein, Scott E. Fraser, Jack A. Gilbert, Janet K. Jansson, Rob Knight, Jeff F. Miller, Aydogan Ozcan, Kimberly A. Prather, Stephen R. Quake, Edward G. Ruby, Pamela A. Silver, Sharif Taha, Ger van den Engh, Paul S. Weiss, Gerard C. L. Wong, Aaron T. Wright, Thomas D. Young. Tools for the Microbiome: Nano and Beyond. ACS Nano, 2015; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.5b07826

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American Chemical Society. "Scientists call for new tools to explore the world's microbiomes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160106110710.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2016, January 6). Scientists call for new tools to explore the world's microbiomes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160106110710.htm
American Chemical Society. "Scientists call for new tools to explore the world's microbiomes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160106110710.htm (accessed August 24, 2016).