The microbial communities, or microbiomes, that account for 90 percent of our bodyâ€™s cells can greatly influence human and environmental health. To get a better understanding of this microbial world and manipulate them to our benefit, the University of California, San Diego has established the Microbiome and Microbial Sciences Initiative. Robert Knight, one of the worldâ€™s experts on the microbiome will lead a research-focused Center for Microbiome Innovation. He says so much has been learned about this field in the last several years due to the dramatic drop in cost of DNA sequencing. Knight is also part of the very successful American Gut Project.
"Basically the idea was to figure out how to structure the project so it could be self-supporting, so itâ€™s one of the largest crowd-sourced, crowd-funded citizen science projects that weâ€™re aware of. Weâ€™ve currently sequenced over six thousand kits and released the DNA sequence publicly so that any interested member of the public can just look at all of that data and see what the microbiomes look like."
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