Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Genetic Data for 1000 Microbes Released

Microbial organisms are a major component of our environment, but scientists have only begun to study their genetic composition in depth. Using current genetic technologies, researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (DOE JGI) have begun to learn more, and have released their findings. The team has reported 1,003 phylogenetically reference genomes of bacterial and archaeal organisms in Nature Biotechnology.

Genome sequencing and analysis data for 1,003 genomes is now available through the Integrated Microbial Genomes with Microbiomes (IMG/M) system. The DOE JGI is aiming to provide interested scientists with a trove of new sequence data. It could aid in the characterization of biotechnologically relevant secondary metabolites or reveal more about enzymes that act under certain conditions.

According to the Nature paper:

"We present 1,003 reference genomes that were sequenced as part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA) initiative, selected to maximize sequence coverage of phylogenetic space. These genomes double the number of existing type strains and expand their overall phylogenetic diversity by 25%. Comparative analyses with previously available finished and draft genomes reveal a 10.5% increase in novel protein families as a function of phylogenetic diversity. The GEBA genomes recruit 25 million previously unassigned metagenomic proteins from 4,650 samples, improving their phylogenetic and functional interpretation. We identify numerous biosynthetic clusters and experimentally validate a divergent phenazine cluster with potential new chemical structure and antimicrobial activity. This Resource is the largest single release of reference genomes to date. Bacterial and archaeal isolate sequence space is still far from saturated, and future endeavors in this direction will continue to be a valuable resource for scientific discovery."

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle