Internet-Based Tools for Teaching the Microbiome
A microbiome is all of the genetic material found within an individual microbe such as a bacterium, fungal cell, or virus. It also may refer to the collection of genetic material found in a community of microbes that live together. Also see: Microbiome from The Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms
Working project websites for microbiome research and studiesA teacher's tools website with resources for use in biology classes learning about microbes. Includes: Your Microbial Friends and the Symbiosis Scramble.
Student or family-oriented learning website for resources about the human microbiome: The Microbiome Simulator, Your Changing Microbiome, and How we Study The Microbiome.
This is a proposed massively multidisciplinary effort to analyze microbial communities across the globe. The site contains links on project goals, how people can get involved, and even contains protocols and standards. There is a link to a Microbe article about this project below.
Since this is the website for the Microbiome Research Consortia it contains links to various other sites (some of which we have here) and websites of individual labs involved in the project. The paragraphs at the bottom contain useful definitions.
This site contains a nice downloadable pdf of their work. There are also links to other parts of the work including: Objectives, microbial profiling, data analysis, and more.
Not only does this site contain information about the Canadian microbiome project, but it also contains a link to research highlights written for the public.
Ethics-related websites for microbiome research and microbiome studiesThere are numerous ethical issues involved in research on the totality of microbes involving human beings. A commonly expressed fear is that genetic information will in some way be used to harm people. The harms often identified include a loss of privacy resulting in discrimination. In this link both of these issues are examined in the article. Confidentiality is a crucial component of the physician/patient relationship and needs to be respected and upheld in all genomic medicine.
Written by Jack A. Gilbert and Folker Meyer for the March 2012 issue of Microbiome Magizine, this story about the Earth Microbiome Project was published by the American Society for Microbiology. This article details the efforts to characterize the microorganisms that inhabit the varied ecosystems of the Earth. This story highlights the collaborative effort, which will allow for comparisons among different ecosystems worldwide and will allow for advances in modeling efforts. Because microorganisms are so critical in ecosystem functioning, this microbiome effort is critical to our understanding of Earth's ecosystems.
This article by Lauren Gravitz in the May 17, 2012 issure of Nature highlights the roles of microorganisms in the human gut and suggests that these microorganism essentially serve as another organ in the human body. The article discusses the possible role of microorganisms in diabetes and insulin resistance and efforts to understand microbial roles in metabolism in the human body.
Another article by Carl Zimmer in the June 18, 2012 science ssection of the New York Times, it's a nice overview of the microbiome and even includes fungus whereas most articles only mention bacteria.
Contributing Team of Educators:Harold Chittum Ph.D., University of Pikeville
Dia-Eldin A. Elnaiem Ph.D., University of Maryland Eastern Shore
J. Michael Engle Ph.D., Mount Aloysius College
Danny L. Franke Ph.D., Alderson-Broaddus College
Diana E. Northup Ph.D., University of New Mexico
Lori West Ph.D., Lee University