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Title: A unified initiative to harness Earth's microbiomes

Abstract

Despite their centrality to life on Earth, we know little about how microbes interact with each other, their hosts, or their environment. Although DNA sequencing technologies have enabled a new view of the ubiquity and diversity of microorganisms, this has mainly yielded snapshots that shed limited light on microbial functions or community dynamics. Given that nearly every habitat and organism hosts a diverse constellation of microorganisms—its “microbiome”—such knowledge could transform our understanding of the world and launch innovations in agriculture, energy, health, the environment, and more (see the photo). Here, we propose an interdisciplinary Unified Microbiome Initiative (UMI) to discover and advance tools to understand and harness the capabilities of Earth's microbial ecosystems. The impacts of oceans and soil microbes on atmospheric CO 2 are critical for understanding climate change. By manipulating interactions at the root-soil-microbe interface, we may reduce agricultural pesticide, fertilizer, and water use enrich marginal land and rehabilitate degraded soils. Microbes can degrade plant cell walls (for biofuels), and synthesize myriad small molecules for new bioproducts, including antibiotics. Restoring normal human microbial ecosystems can save lives [e.g., fecal microbiome transplantation for Clostridium difficile infections]. Rational management of microbial communities in and around us has implications for asthma,more » diabetes, obesity, infectious diseases, psychiatric illnesses, and other afflictions. The human microbiome is a target and a source for new drugs and an essential tool for precision medicine. The National Science Foundation's Microbial Observatories, the U.S. Department of Energy's Genomic Sciences program, the National Institutes of Health's Human Microbiome Project, and other efforts in the United States and abroad have served as critical first steps in revealing the diversity of microbes and their communities. However, we lack many tools required to advance beyond descriptive approaches to studies that enable a mechanistic, predictive, and actionable understanding of global microbiome processes. Developing these tools requires new collaborations between physical, life, and biomedical sciences; engineering; and other disciplines.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Contributing Org.:
Unified Microbiome Initiative Consortium
OSTI Identifier:
1474885
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 350; Journal Issue: 6260; Journal ID: ISSN 0036-8075
Publisher:
AAAS
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Alivisatos, A. P., Blaser, M. J., Brodie, E. L., Chun, M., Dangl, J. L., Donohue, T. J., Dorrestein, P. C., Gilbert, J. A., Green, J. L., Jansson, J. K., Knight, R., Maxon, M. E., McFall-Ngai, M. J., Miller, J. F., Pollard, K. S., Ruby, E. G., and Taha, S. A. A unified initiative to harness Earth's microbiomes. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1126/science.aac8480.
Alivisatos, A. P., Blaser, M. J., Brodie, E. L., Chun, M., Dangl, J. L., Donohue, T. J., Dorrestein, P. C., Gilbert, J. A., Green, J. L., Jansson, J. K., Knight, R., Maxon, M. E., McFall-Ngai, M. J., Miller, J. F., Pollard, K. S., Ruby, E. G., & Taha, S. A. A unified initiative to harness Earth's microbiomes. United States. doi:10.1126/science.aac8480.
Alivisatos, A. P., Blaser, M. J., Brodie, E. L., Chun, M., Dangl, J. L., Donohue, T. J., Dorrestein, P. C., Gilbert, J. A., Green, J. L., Jansson, J. K., Knight, R., Maxon, M. E., McFall-Ngai, M. J., Miller, J. F., Pollard, K. S., Ruby, E. G., and Taha, S. A. Fri . "A unified initiative to harness Earth's microbiomes". United States. doi:10.1126/science.aac8480. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1474885.
@article{osti_1474885,
title = {A unified initiative to harness Earth's microbiomes},
author = {Alivisatos, A. P. and Blaser, M. J. and Brodie, E. L. and Chun, M. and Dangl, J. L. and Donohue, T. J. and Dorrestein, P. C. and Gilbert, J. A. and Green, J. L. and Jansson, J. K. and Knight, R. and Maxon, M. E. and McFall-Ngai, M. J. and Miller, J. F. and Pollard, K. S. and Ruby, E. G. and Taha, S. A.},
abstractNote = {Despite their centrality to life on Earth, we know little about how microbes interact with each other, their hosts, or their environment. Although DNA sequencing technologies have enabled a new view of the ubiquity and diversity of microorganisms, this has mainly yielded snapshots that shed limited light on microbial functions or community dynamics. Given that nearly every habitat and organism hosts a diverse constellation of microorganisms—its “microbiome”—such knowledge could transform our understanding of the world and launch innovations in agriculture, energy, health, the environment, and more (see the photo). Here, we propose an interdisciplinary Unified Microbiome Initiative (UMI) to discover and advance tools to understand and harness the capabilities of Earth's microbial ecosystems. The impacts of oceans and soil microbes on atmospheric CO2 are critical for understanding climate change. By manipulating interactions at the root-soil-microbe interface, we may reduce agricultural pesticide, fertilizer, and water use enrich marginal land and rehabilitate degraded soils. Microbes can degrade plant cell walls (for biofuels), and synthesize myriad small molecules for new bioproducts, including antibiotics. Restoring normal human microbial ecosystems can save lives [e.g., fecal microbiome transplantation for Clostridium difficile infections]. Rational management of microbial communities in and around us has implications for asthma, diabetes, obesity, infectious diseases, psychiatric illnesses, and other afflictions. The human microbiome is a target and a source for new drugs and an essential tool for precision medicine. The National Science Foundation's Microbial Observatories, the U.S. Department of Energy's Genomic Sciences program, the National Institutes of Health's Human Microbiome Project, and other efforts in the United States and abroad have served as critical first steps in revealing the diversity of microbes and their communities. However, we lack many tools required to advance beyond descriptive approaches to studies that enable a mechanistic, predictive, and actionable understanding of global microbiome processes. Developing these tools requires new collaborations between physical, life, and biomedical sciences; engineering; and other disciplines.},
doi = {10.1126/science.aac8480},
journal = {Science},
number = 6260,
volume = 350,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {10}
}

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Current understanding of the human microbiome
    journal, April 2018

    • Gilbert, Jack A.; Blaser, Martin J.; Caporaso, J. Gregory
    • Nature Medicine, Vol. 24, Issue 4
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    Disgusting microbes: The effect of disgust on perceptions of risks related to modifying microbiomes
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    MIMIX: A Bayesian Mixed-Effects Model for Microbiome Data From Designed Experiments
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    Applications of the Soil, Plant and Rumen Microbiomes in Pastoral Agriculture
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