The White House announced the launching of a new project called National Microbiome Initiative designed to investigate the world of microbes. It aims to find out more about microbiome’s benefit to human life and planetary function.

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) says the program will increase the research attempts to understand the function of microorganisms that live on or in all living species and are necessary to the well-being of living creatures and ecosystems.

The White House launches National Microbiome Initiative
The National Microbiome Initiative is designed to investigate the world of microbes, to know their benefits to both human life and planetary function. Credit: Ars Technica

The National Microbiome Initiative will try to encourage comparative studies of microbes across ecosystems to come to a better understanding of the basis of microscopic life. It is an interdisciplinary project developed during a year-long fact-finding process. It develops technologies that let scientist organize and increase access to microbial data. It has the intentions of expanding the microbiome workforce through education and citizen science.

The human eye cannot see Microbiomes or microorganism communities that live on and inside people, animals, and plants. The National Microbiome Initiative considers they have a huge effect on the way people live. Microbes can make people sick or make them healthy, promote or stunt the growth of plants and contribute to climate change, among many other things.

Financing an interdisciplinary work

The National Microbiome Initiative plans to work with other organizations that are also interested in research on microbes. The organizations include the University of Michigan and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, One Codex, The BioCollective, the University of California, and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The new initiative will have a total of $521 million in funding. The government is giving out $121 million in federal money, being part of the government’s 2017 budget. The non-government organization is giving $400 million, including Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which is giving $100 million to the project for four years. The foundation is aiming to found the development of tools that can be used for the study of human and agricultural microbiomes.

Source: The White House