The current symposium brings together local and foreign scientists that lead the fields of microbiology, anthropology, ethics, public health and bioinformatics, to teach, learn and discuss the importance of conservation efforts on microbial biodiversity. This is the first of a series of workshops that will help establish a global microbiome network.
Microbial diversity, crucial for human health, is globally threatened by westernization and urbanization at an unprecedented pace. Microbial biodiversity hotspots are mostly located in places with traditional peoples and will be lost as they integrate in industrial societies, unless there is recognition of the urgent to preserve it, and foster research to understand the functions of the diversity at risk of being lost.
There is a clear association between industrialization/urbanization and the rocketing of immune and metabolic and immune malfunctions leading to diseases such as asthma, allergies, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, etc. These microbes at risk of extinction will be needed in the future to reverse the worldwide trends of increasing chronic diseases.