Metagenomes in Nature

Nature had a nice feature on metagenomics last week and another on the Human microbiome metagenomics. You’ll need to have a subscription to access those :(, but the gist of the latter news feature is the possibilities of Human microbiome research, pros and cons and the projects out there. There are a lot. In order of amount of funding they are:


Human Microbiome Project (US), 115 million US $.

MetaHIT (Europe and China), 31m.

Canadian Microbiome Initiative (Canada), 10m.

Human MetaGenome Consortium (Japan), 5m.

MicroObes (France), 3.

Meta-GUT (China), 1.5.

Human Gastric Microbiome (Singapore), 0.75m.

Australian Urogenital Microbiome Consortium (Australia), 0.6m.

That’s a total of more than 167 million dollars (so far) dedicated to the discovery of the human microbiome. The research is starting to pay dividends in knowlege (though not necessarily in medical applications yet). The studies of obese vs. thin mice and humans for example has found that thin and obese organisms have very different gut microbiomes.

As we deal in genomic resources here, thought I’d point you to the databases generated by these projects. Well, of course these are new projects, so as of yet, there isn’t much.

 IMG/M (tutorial) does have an excellent resource and database that does include two human gut samples and the mouse obese and thin gut samples.

Camera is focused on Marine metagenomics.

HOMD (Human Oral Microbiome Database) is something I just stumbled on in my searches, a couple metagenomes of the Human oral cavity metagenomes.

We’ll keep you up-to-date when new resources come online for metagenomics, and specifically for human microbiome data. Just a small aside, my former postdoc advisor, Peer Bork is quoted in both Nature articles above and is doing lots of work in metagenomics. I guess I’ll be picking his brain for new resources :).

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