Today is the 2nd World Microbiome Day, following on from the very first World Microbiome Day, launched by APC Microbiome, at University College Cork in Ireland last year!
This is a day for us to celebrate all things microbe, where international microbiome researchers from all over the world can connect with the public, to raise awareness about the the vibrant and diverse world of microbes that live on and inside our bodies and all around us!
What is a Microbiome?
Microbiomes refer either to the genomes of all of the microorganisms that reside within environmental niches, or the microorganisms themselves. The human microbiome is among the most hotly discussed topics in popular science, as researchers all over the world trying to answer billion dollar questions such as: what role does our microbiome play in health and disease? how does our microbiome communicate with our own cells?, and how/can we exploit or harness this to develop new therapies? However, microbiome research extends far beyond the human body, addressing diverse topics such as antibiotic resistance development, animal and aquatic health, plant health and disease and evolution in all kingdoms of life, e.g., by studying horizontal gene transfer.
It’s all about #diversity
Last year’s theme was antibiotic resistance and this year’s theme is diversity – encompassing the diversity of microbes, their habitats, the diversity of diets to feed and fuel microbiomes and the diversity among those who research in these areas. As alluded to above, the applications of microbiome research are almost as diverse as the microbes themselves!
Throughout World Microbiome Day, events will take place across the globe aimed to raise awareness about the importance of microbial diversity and how our actions can help to protect and expand the diversity of microbes in humans, animals, soils and water in the interest of our planet’s future. These events (many of which are virtual given the COVID-19 situation) include debates, microbe-guessing competitions, photography competitions, mini symposia, quizzes and more. Anyone is also welcome to set up their own microbiome event using the guidelines here.
So go on, spread the word about the magic of the microbiome and tell your families and friends about World Microbiome Day. For more information, check out the official World Microbiome Day page here.