Microbial diversity is threatened
Microbial diversity is globally threatened by urbanization and environmental change proceeding at an unprecedented pace (1, 2). In analogy to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the Microbiota Vault initiative sets out to preserve the biodiversity of human-associated microbiota, while still possible, by constructing an institution for the safe storage and preservation of microbiota samples and collections. The Microbiota Vault will closely interact with local working collections all over the world.
A global ecosystem
supporting One Health
Collect. The Microbiota Vault closely interacts with local collections and research efforts all over the world.
Preserve. The Microbiota Vault acts on behalf of the local working collections, providing safe backup storage and a framework for data services and collaboration.
Enable. The Microbiota Vault empowers the research of the local working collections, helps set protocols and standards, preserves the biodiversity of microbiota, and allows future restoration of health.
Thus, the Microbiota Vault supports One Health.
Conceptualizing the Microbiota Vault
The feasibility study found that the Microbiota Vault initiative has great significance and potential. It was supported by non-profit institutions and universities active in the field of the human gut microbiome, such as the Swiss Gebert Rüf Foundation along with the Seerave Foundation, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal), Rutgers University (USA), Kiel University (Germany), Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (Canada), Bengt E. Gustafsson symposium foundation (affiliated to Karolinska Institutet, Sweden) and UC San Diego School of Medicine (USA).
Initiation of the operational phase
The Microbiota Vault initiative has decided to initiate the operational phase of the project in Switzerland and has designed a program for a two-year launch phase.
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The Microbiota Vault Inc. was founded as a non-profit organisation with the aim of safeguarding microbial diversity by supporting collection efforts and creating an institution for safe preservation.