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The Microbiome of Animals: Implications for Conservation Biology
In recent years the human microbiome has become a growing area of research and it is becoming clear that the microbiome of humans plays an important role for human health. Extensive research is now going into cataloging and annotating the functional role of the human microbiome. The ability to explore and describe the microbiome of any species has become possible due to new methods for sequencing. These techniques allow comprehensive surveys of the composition of the microbiome of nonmodel organisms of which relatively little is known. Some attention has been paid to the microbiome of insect species including important vectors of pathogens of human and veterinary importance, agricultural pests, and model species. Together these studies suggest that the microbiome of insects is highly dependent on the environment, species, and populations and affects the fitness of species.These fitness effects can have important implications for the conservation and management of species and populations. Further, these results are important for our understanding of invasion of nonnative species, responses to pathogens, and responses to chemicals and global climate change in the present and future.
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