Essay about We Must Keep All Microbes !

Essay about We Must Keep All Microbes !

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Calling all microbes!

With the help of metagenomic, that combines next-generation DNA sequencing and computational biology, we can track the microorganisms in our cities, with important public health implications.

Our body and every place we live in are populated with millions of microorganisms, which form a small ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, protists, and viruses. These microbes are for the majority harmless, a few can be beneficial, but others can bring diseases, be treatment-resistant, or even lethal. Tracking these microorganisms has become a fundamental goal of microbiologists as a way of managing public health, understanding and preventing disease outbreaks, or keeping bioterrorism under surveillance.

A microbial ecosystem never stays the same. Our daily interactions with other people and with the environment allow a continuous and rapid exchange of microbes from one person to another, or from one individual to a certain place and vice versa. This lets a microorganism group that inhabits a certain area to quickly morph according to the new strains that are brought in.

Scientists have started to monitor the very complex microbial ecosystems that live around us, relying on metagenomic, or “the study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples” (Wikipedia). Combining modern high-throughput sequencing techniques with computational biology has generated an effective method of surveying and classifying complex populations constituted by millions of microorganism. With next-generation sequencing, researchers have been able to detect the portions of genome that are characteristic and unique for each microorganism, matching each DNA sequence to the microbe that carries it. With computational biolo...

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...gastrointestinal tract (link to your other article) all perform tasks that are useful for the human host (e.g. they help with digestion, protect and maintain the pH balance of the skin and mucosae, etc.). It has been shown that people who live isolated carry more protective bacteria than the people in large urbanized areas, thereby showing better mechanisms of defense and significant health benefits.

One of the NYAS meeting final remarks highlighted the fact that, as scientists began to study microbial diversity, they also started to understand how much of it had already been lost, due to the large human migration and consequently to our habitats looking more and more the same. For this reason, a working document by the American Society of Microbiology defines the necessary research procedures to study and preserve microbial diversity as an important life resource.

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