The Emergent Microbiome: A Revolution for the Life Sciences. Part XII: Taking Stock of Livestock
As we have discussed in previous installments of “The Emergent Microbiome,” we have seen a distinct growth in the interest of the microbial communities found in our environment beyond the confines of the human body. Earlier articles in this series have focused on the microbiology of the built environment (See Part VII: The Microbiology of the Built Environment) and the microbial communities of plants that have been characterized and manipulated to maximize their growth and crop yield (See Part XI: Agriculture and the Microbiome). In both circumstances, we noted robust intellectual property activity. Likewise, we have also observed an increased interest in the microbial communities found in livestock animals, and how manipulations of these communities could result in more effective, productive, and sustainable means of food production. Although this area is less well developed than other areas of microbiome research, including that of plant agriculture, we see it as a promising area of development in terms of both the science and the innovation that will inevitably flow from it.