The Emergent Microbiome: A Revolution for the Life Sciences – Part I, R&D Leaders
Research into the microbiome seeks to characterize the microorganisms that live in and on different environments. Although these environments can be broadly terrestrial, extraterrestrial aquatic, and biological, we often use the term specifically to describe the bacteria living in and on different sites of the human body. The word “microbiome” refers either to the organisms themselves (also called “microbiota”) or their collective genomes. Within the human gut, the most bacteria-rich organ, these genes outnumber those in the human genome 100: 1, providing attractive candidates for pharmaceutical intervention. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), childhood-onset asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea are some of the diseases that involve changes in the composition or loss of the function of the microbiome.