200 million years ago: Mammals
60 million years ago: Primates
2.5 million years ago: Genus Homo
Microbes appeared: 3.5 billion years ago
After over 3 centuries of vilification of microorganisms and all our research focused on annihilation of all things microbial, new research has corroborated ancient anecdotal belief in the constructive importance of microorganisms, especially those naturally constituting our body’s microbiome.
The human microbiome is clearly a significant source of genetic diversity in our body. It is also a critical contributor to immunity, thus modifying the manifestation and impact of diseases. They also impart an inseparable influence on our metabolism and modulates drug interactions.
With 10 fold more microorganisms than cells, our microbiome is also referred to as our second genome.
The microbiota also plays a premium role in the gut-brain axis (GBA). GBA consists of bidirectional communication between the central and the enteric nervous system, linking emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions. Recent advances in research have described the importance of gut microbiota in influencing these interactions and its dysbiosis has a direct correlation with many neurodegenerative conditions.
Research for the last 2 or 3 decades have enlightened the crucial role our microbiome plays not only in our health but in our very survival.
This is ignited worldwide interest in harnessing the role of our microbiota for prevention and intervention of our health. After the success of Human Genome Project, NIH launched the Human Microbiome Project in 2008. In 2016, US Government announced the National Microbiome Initiative.
Just in the last 5 years, there has been close to a billion dollar of private investment in microbiome based therapeutic companies.