On May 13, the U.S. government announced the launch of the National Microbiome Initiative to investigate and map the microorganisms that live in the atmosphere, in or on the human figure, and any other ecosystems.  

Very little is known about microbiomes, and researchers all over the world are keen on developing a deeper understanding about them because of the effect they have on food production, human health, as well as climate switch. Hence, the White House issued “a national call to activity for fresh commitments to microbiome research from all sectors.” Responding to it, private investors will be contributing $400 million, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which plans to spend $100 million on nutrition and pest-control programmes in developing countries over the next four years, and several research institutions that plan to delve deeper into understanding the role of microbes in cancer therapeutics and marine microbiology. Remarkably, several government agencies are involved in financing the project, such as the US Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and NASA.

However, the one potential problem that the White House could encounter is getting an approval from the Congress for the project. It is likely that there will be some opposition to dedicating more resources to microbiome research. Stefano Bertuzzi, executive director of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington DC, says “I think it’s going to be a fight.”

References:

White House goes big on microbiome research

National Microbiome Initiative Launched

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