Understanding how individual microbes interact with each other in a community, and characterizing their individual contributions, is key to understanding their ecosystem functions in processes ranging from nutrient cycling to plant health and growth. Developing a scalable computational approach that provides researchers with the ability to recover and reconstruct individual genomes, particularly from incredibly complex soil microbial communities, is crucial to understanding how these microbes respond and adapt to environmental changes. Through the JGI’s Emerging Technologies Opportunity Program (ETOP), researchers have developed and improved upon a dereplication, aggregation and scoring tool (DAS Tool) that combines existing DNA sequence binning algorithms, allowing them to reconstruct more near-complete genomes from soil metagenomes compared to other methods. As reported in Nature Microbiology, using DAS Tool on data from soil samples, researchers were able to reconstruct 79 minimally contaminated draft genomes to >70% completeness; among these, 26 were high-quality draft genomes with >90% completeness. These results, noted JGI User Programs Deputy Susannah Tringe, suggest that extracting high-quality genomes from soil metagenome data is no longer “nearly impossible.” Read the full story on the JGI website.
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