Mapping the microbiome

The growing potential of the microbiome is illustrated by the recent launch of the ambitious “Million Microbiome of Humans Project” which is bringing together scientists from China, Sweden, Denmark, France, Latvia and other countries to draw a microbiome map of the human body.

The scientists together aim to sequence and analyze 1 million microbial samples, taken from the intestines, mouth, skin, reproductive tract and other organs, over the next 3-5 years to build up a microbiome map[1]. This is no easy feat and, once completed, will be the world’s largest database of the human microbiome to date. 

By looking at different populations and health conditions, the project provides a strong data foundation for cutting-edge research. This will allow for the greater scale analysis of the effects of the microbiome on human metabolism and health, and the study of changes in the microbiome in normal versus diseased states, before and after treatment. Consequently, the project will open up new possibilities for therapies targeting a wide range of diseases in many fields, including cancer, metabolic diseases, reproductive health and new-born health.