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Citizen Scientists Successfully Fund Groundbreaking Startup to Sequence their Microbiomes
Date:1/16/2013

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The project has garnered over $120,000 in crowdfunding and over 1,000 participants, more than four times the number of participants included in the NIH-funded Human Microbiome Project, which was completed in 2012. “The more people that participate, the more statistical power is available to answer important scientific questions. The NIH study was a fantastic start, and we are scaling up so we can use “Big Data” to get the answers to the big questions about health and disease.” said co-founder Zachary Apte, PhD. Participants from over thirty-five countries have pledged their support in exchange for having their microbiomes sequenced, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany, India, Singapore, Israel, Uruguay, Bulgaria, South Africa, Estonia and the United Arab Emirates.

“We are proud that many of the people who have signed up for our service are from countries that are less-often studied. By using citizen science, we bridge the gap between smaller or developing countries and those with huge research budgets. The gap is both unscientific and unfair, and we want to fix it.” said uBiome co-founder Jessica Richman.

The human body is composed of 10 trillion human cells, but there are ten times as many microbial cells as human cells - the 100 trillion that together form the microbiome. These microbes are not harmful, but rather are co-evolved symbiants, essential collaborators in our physiology. Like the rainforest, the healthy human microbiome is a balanced ecosystem. The latest research suggests that the correct balance of microbes serves
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