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Goal II: Determine whether human beings share a core microbiome

A first step towards understanding the bacterial communities that form the human microbiome and how they might influence health and disease is to take a ‘census’ of the communities. One way to accomplish this is to sequence the 16S rDNA gene, which is found in all bacteria and archaea and encodes part of the cellular machine that synthesizes proteins. Sequencing this gene can provide a method for identifying the various species within a bacterial community and classifying bacteria taxonomically, even those organisms that cannot be grown in the laboratory.