Microbiomes are the complex communities of microbes (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa etc.) that inhabit particular environments, such as the human gut, plant leaves or coral reefs. These microbiomes can be very diverse and distinct: for instance the microbes in your mouth will be completely different to the microbes that live on your skin.
The applications of microbiome research are potentially vast and could transform aspects of healthcare, food production, agriculture and environmental management. Research on microbiomes has progressed at a rapid pace over recent years, due in part to advances in genome-sequencing technology and bioinformatics. Gaining the maximum benefit from microbiome research will require collaborative efforts from different scientific disciplines in academia, as well as across the public and industry sectors.