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Constructing the Microbial Biomap for Planet Earth

Have you heard about the Earth Microbiome Project? Led by the laboratories of Jack Gilbert from Argonne National Labs along with Folker Meyer (Argonne), Janet Jansson (LBNL), Rob Knight (University of Colorado), this is a pioneering effort to characterize the global microbial taxonomic and functional diversity from samples collected all over the world.

Similar to the Human Microbiome Project, the Earth Microbiome Project (EMP) is an exciting and massive endeavor that will reveal the vast diversity of microbial species that sustain and nourish planet earth. With only a small fraction of the microbes in the environment having been cultivated, this project will expand our knowledge of the “dark matter” that comprises the planet.

To accomplish this project, 200,000 environmental samples will be extracted and the DNA sequenced to produce a global Gene Atlas with approximately 500,000 reconstructed microbial genomes. The project aims to produce 5 million metagenomic reads and 200,000 16S/18S rRNA reads per sample.

The Earth Microbiome Project is actively seeking collaborators who are willing to share their sample collections for this project. Environmental samples such as soil, water on filters, fecal material, leaves, etc. are needed. Samples must be provided with data which will be critical for comparisons between environments. This criteria includes: where the sample was collected, the environmental conditions at the time of collection, time of collection, method of collection and storage. Priority will be given to samples with the richest metadata, for with better contextual information comparison of the subsequent sequence data will be improved.

To contact the EMP and obtain detailed information on the submission criteria (Minimal Information about a Marker Sequence (MIMARKS)) and to find out if your collections could be used for this effort, click the Source link.

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