Mapping the Earth’s Microbiomes

In February 2015 the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) established a Fast Track Action Committee on Mapping the Microbiome (FTAC-MM) to determine what would be required to enable a predictive understanding of microbiomes and their functions.

The report was released today and based on information collected from 14 federal departments and independent agencies. The report found that investment in microbiome research has increased over the previous three fiscal years (FY12-14), and highlights future needs for advancing the field.

Notably, the report realizes the need for better software for “big-data” analysis associated with microbial genomics and a need to standardize reference materials, baseline data, and sample repositories of microbiomes and individual organisms. 

The FTAC-MM noted that sustained investments in all areas of microbiome research are necessary. Advances in microbiome science have the potential to unleash considerable benefits for human health and the planet. The correct tools and interdisciplinary focus on fundamental research questions could drive significant breakthroughs in disease treatment, clean energy production, and sustainable food growth. In short the FTAC-MM’s report is a key step in understanding what the Federal government can and should do to support this important area of research.

You can read the full report here.