Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Thanks to an explosion of knowledge about microbiomes—the communities of microorganisms specific to varied habitats—scientists now realize that microorganisms control the health of virtually every ecosystem on Earth. The effects of microbiomes are far-reaching. The human microbiome is associated with chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, depression, and asthma, conditions long blamed on other causes. Microbiomes influence crop productivity, climate change, and ocean health. There is tremendous potential for managing microbiomes to achieve beneficial outcomes for human health, agricultural productivity, clean energy supply, environmental health, and the economy, but, Jo Handelsman argues, a new approach to microbiome research is needed.