What We've Learned From Studying Microbiomes

What is a microbiome you ask? It's the tiny living community that surrounds us all and is the subject of investigation by human and veterinary health care providers everywhere. You've heard about microbiome from me before, see my post about it from last year, "What's in the Water." There is no question that the relationships all animals, including humans, have with the trillions upon trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi--in, on and around us--are a critical part of the life experience. At Shedd Aquarium, this is what the Aquarium Microbiome Project is all about. Our lab offers a comprehensive look at microbiomes in controlled aquarium ecosystems and how they influence complex environmental conditions and animal health. The lab became operational less than a year ago but what we've already begun learning and discovering a lot. Shedd's microbiomes encompass the ubiquitous and naturally occurring microscopic life forms, or microbes, that are in the exhibits and in, on and around the animals living there. The majority of these microbes are not only beneficial; they are also essential to the health and well-being of the animals in our care. One study looked at the Amazon Rising exhibit, home to this red-headed sideneck turtle and other reptiles, birds, primates, invertebrates and hundreds of fish species. ©Shedd Aquarium The anchor technology of the lab is an Illumina™ MiSeq DNA sequencer; the machine is used to decode molecules of DNA and reveal what ...
Source: Science - The Huffington Post - Category: Science Source Type: news

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