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Scientist study bacterial communities inside us to better understand health and disease
Date:6/3/2008

ive tract.

Due to their overwhelming numbers, the fact that their byproducts can be found in most human fluids, and the evidence of their potential role in health and disease, it is quite possible that mapping and understanding the human microbiome may be as important or more important to understanding human health than mapping and understanding the human genome, says McFall Ngai. Either way, with the complexity of the system, it is definitely going to be more difficult.

Recognizing its importance, the National Institutes of Health in December 2007 announced the Human Microbiome Project as part of its Roadmap for Medical Research, devoting over $100 million in grants over the next five years. Researchers will use new, comprehensive laboratory technologies to characterize the microbial communities present in samples taken from healthy human volunteers, even for microbes that cannot be grown in the laboratory. The samples will be collected from five body regions known to be inhabited by microbial communities: the digestive tract, the mouth, the skin, the nose, and the female urogenital tract. Research projects will subsequently be funded to sample the microbiomes from volunteers with specific diseases. This will allow researchers to correlate the relationship between changes in a microbiome present at a particular body site to a specific illness.


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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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