The MICROBE Project, A Report from the Interagency Working Group on Microbial Genomics
NATIONAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE
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Microorganisms have been present for over 3.8 billion years we have known about their existence for over 300 years. Yet, despite the fact that microbes comprise most of the earths biomass, maintain its environments, and hold the key both to understanding the history and health of life on Earth and to exploiting the full potential of biotechnology for myriad applications, we still know almost nothing about most of them. Now, with the advent of genomics, we are entering a new era of scientific discovery. Recognizing the broad importance of microbial genomics research, in 1999 an interagency task group conducted an informal inventory of Federally-supported research in microbial genomics. While it is clear that genomics offers unprecedented opportunities, this inventory showed that there are major areas of research as yet untouched that would increase our understanding of the broader microbial world, its diversity, and its potential applications. A coordinated interagency and international effort is needed to seize the opportunities offered by genome-enabled microbial science. In recognition of this need, the Microbe Project Interagency Working Group was convened in August 2000, and charged with developing a coordinated interagency action plan for microbial genomics activities.
- Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology