Scientists have come together to create a Unified Microbiome Initiative, called the Unified Microbiome Initiative Consortium (UMIC). This initiative has the power to coordinate the minds and resources of at minimum, 48 different scientists in an effort to make huge strides in the realm of microbe research.
Microbial life forms are the most plentiful life forms on earth, and the science world acknowledges that we only know a fraction of what there is to know about them. Microbial life is everything from bacteria, to fungi, to viruses, and they hold billions of years of [evolutionary] information within their cells. Not only does every microbial life form hold a plethora of untapped information, but together, they form microbiomes that work together and continuously influence each other. The Unified Microbiome Initiative Consortium believes that these microbiomes may hold the keys to a much better understanding of and life on this planet.
Pamela Silver, Ph.D who is a faculty leader at Wyss Institute’s Synthetic Biology platform believes that the understanding of microbes from our bodies and surrounding environment is essential to truly comprehending life. The Unified Microbiome Initiative would be tapping into the minds of ecologists, scientists who specialize in physical science, scientists who specialize in synthetic biology, and microbiologists. Each field has a completely different perspective and wealth of knowledge to contribute to the overall goal.
The scientists worked together to identify the struggles and opportunities for growth within microbiome research, and then published their proposal in journal Science in October of last year. Their major areas of focus will be:
- Trying to determine how and why microbes create their communities
- What makes them resistant to deviation
- How genes within a microbiome interact and how they associate with other organisms
- How we can harness the microbiomes related to humans, animals, vegetation, and the general environment.
They have already come to a conclusion on how they will go about attempting to find answers to those questions. The Unified Microbiome Initiative Consortium will be developing both analytic and predictive computational methods to determine the functions of the countless unknown genes.
Donald Inger, M.D., Ph.D. perfectly summed of the efforts of the UMIC “”Discovery of the importance of the existence and importance of the microbiome has provided a new frame of reference for our understanding of health and our environment.”
To see the original article that inspired this post, see here.