The mathematical formula for our state of being reads rather simple: genes plus environment equals our health score. We’ve sequenced our genes to identify the genetic component of disease, but the environment remains the biggest unknown part of our health equation. Until now. This is the story of how researchers in Utrecht are starting to systematically sequence the environmental factors influencing our health – mapping out the outside world as well as the miniature worlds existing, for instance, in our intestinal tracts. Decoding life. One block at a time.
Wearable devices that measure amongst others air quality enable everyone to become a mobile environmental monitoring station. Illustration: Silvia Celiberti.