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The Microbiome Scatters

As the Human Microbiome Project shifts its focus, the field is finding itself without a home within the US National Institutes of Health, the Nature News Blog reports.

For its first stage, the HMP received $146 million from the NIH common fund, which the National Human Genome Research Institute managed. But for the next two-year stage, only $15 million of the HMP's common fund budget will be managed by NHGRI. Microbiome research, Nature News Blog adds, will be spread among 16 institutes at NIH.

"The project’s leaders say that the effort still needs a base to provide resources such as standardized sampling protocols, technical support, and microbiome samples and data from specific patient groups that researchers can mine," Nature's Beth Mole writes.

She adds that many researchers thought that NHGRI would fill that role, but the institute tells her that much future microbiome research will be clinical in nature, and that falls outside the institute's brief.