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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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Microbiome research goes without a home

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Trillions of microorganisms call the human body home. But ‘home’ for many US scientists studying these microscopic squatters is about to change, as funding for human microbiome research scatters across 16 of the 27 centres of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Last year, researchers completed the US$173-million Human Microbiome Project, which took five years and generated a slew of reference data, mostly genetic sequences of all the microbes that dwell on and inside humans. But the project’s scientists fear that a lack of standards and expertise in data-gathering and analysis are hampering efforts to extract meaning from this information.

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