The White House announced a new initiative and increased research funding for the study of microbiomes, communities of micro-organisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans and the atmosphere -- and that can have a positive impact or, when dysfunctional, a negative one. Federal agencies will coordinate research programs to promote interdisciplinary research agendas by researchers. In addition, several private organizations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are creating programs to support such research. The University of California at San Diego and the University of Michigan also announced programs. An article last year in The Atlantic outlined why many scientists see this type of effort as crucial.
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