Friday, June 11, 2010

Data acquisition and coordination key to human microbiome project

At birth, your body was 100-percent human in terms of cells. At death, about 10-percent of the cells in your body will be human and the remaining 90-percent will be microorganisms. That makes you a 'supraorganism,' and it is the interactions between your human and microbial cells that go a long way towards determining your health and physical well-being, especially your resistance to infectious diseases. To learn more about the community of symbiotic microbes, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2008 launched the Human Microbiome Project (HMP). The project catalogue is housed at the HMP Data Acquisition and Coordination Centre (DACC), which was created and is maintained by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). 'The HMP project catalogue is a unique worldwide resource,' says molecular biologist Nikos Kyrpides of Berkeley Lab's Genomics Division, who heads the Genome Biology and Metagenomics Programs for the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and is the co-principal investigator of the DACC. More>