GEN Magazine

March 2022 Vol. 41, No. 3

The metaverse has arrived—not the virtualized society imagined by techno-utopians, but the teeming, interacting community of microorganisms and their hosts. Actually, the latter metaverse—let’s call it the living metaverse—has been here all along. What’s new is our ability to plumb its depths, identify its components, and work out its dynamics. As this issue of GEN emphasizes, the living metaverse is most evident through metagenomics, the study of all the genomes that are to be found in mixed communities of organisms. And what can metagenomics do? It can improve diagnostics and infectious disease surveillance. Such are the benefits of seeing deeply and comprehensively. Seeing this way is possible in other disciplines, notably cancer genomics. Two articles in this issue of GEN describe how cancer genomics is advancing the discovery of pathogenic variants, the screening and stratification of patients, and the development of new drugs. Finally, the current issue highlights other areas in which fine detail and rich context matter. These areas include the development of CRISPR-based treatments, and the maintenance of cardiovascular health.

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