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The UN General Assembly proclaimed that 2020 is the International Year of Plant Health to recognize and protect plant health, and to raise awareness of the crucial role of plant health in ecosystem health, food security and human health. Plants host diverse microbial communities that are associated with plant roots, the phyllosphere, rhizosphere and the endosphere, and comprise bacteria, fungi, protists, nematodes and viruses. Numerous studies from different fields of research have expanded our knowledge of the complex interactions between the plant, the associated microbial communities as well as the environment, and provided insights into the ecology and functions of this co-association, including the appreciation that the plant microbiota is important for plant growth, fitness, stress resilience and health. Such an increased understanding opens up the possibility to harness plant-associated communities for sustainable plant production and agricultural practises and to protect plants from the effects of climate change and human activities that lead to a decrease in biodiversity and the spread of plant diseases. This Collection contains Reviews and Research articles from across the Nature group of journals that cover the latest advances in plant microbiome research, addressing critical knowledge gaps that need to be addressed, such as a better understanding of the assembly of the plant-associated microbial communities, their dynamics, metabolic interactions or functional properties.
This collection of research, review and comment from Nature Research celebrates the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice "for the discovery of hepatitis C virus".
Image: Springer Nature/The Nobel Foundation/Imagesource
To support urgent research to combat the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the editorial teams at Nature Research have curated a collection of relevant articles.
The human body is home to trillions of microorganisms, which have direct and indirect impacts on health and disease. The microbiota that resides in our mucosal surfaces, such as the skin, mouth, gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts, is a diverse community of bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi, which collectively have 100-fold more genes that their human host.
This collection combines published Research articles and Reviews from several Nature journals highlighting recent advances in our understanding of the role of the gut microbiota in health and disease, and the tools for studying these complex communities.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – the etiologic agent of AIDS – is one of the most intensively studied disease organism in history. Since its first identification in the early 1980s, HIV has transformed into a pandemic, globally infecting more 36 million people and annually contributing to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of patients – particularly in low income countries.