TerraGenome: International soil metagenome sequencing consortium

TerraGenome is a Research Coordination Network (RCN) funded by the National Science Foundation. The RCN is a collaboration of over 50 scientists from around the world and is led by a steering committee of: Drs. David Myrold (Oregon State University), Mark Bailey (NERC-Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Janet Jansson (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Folker Meyer (Argonne National Laboratory), James Tiedje (Michigan State University), Eric Triplett (University of Florida), and Timothy Vogel (University of Lyon).

The purpose of this Network is to promote and coordinate efforts at sequencing and analyzing soil metagenomes. Soils harbor a vast assemblage of microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, and fungi) and are probably the greatest reservoir of genetic potential on the planet. Recent advances in sequencing technology and associated bioinformatics tools now makes it possible to attempt metagenomic studies of soil ecosystems, which have previously been successful only in simpler microbial ecosystems (e.g., acid mine drainage, open ocean waters, the human gut). Even with these advances, sequencing and analyzing soil metagenomes is a daunting undertaking that will require the efforts of multiple research groups and individuals with expertise in all domains of microbial life. We will accomplish our goal to facilitate the sequencing and analysis of soil metagenomes by: holding periodic meetings to plan strategies and share information, coordinating sequencing and bioinformatics activities, hosting workshops to train students and scientists in metagenomic analysis, and generally enhancing communication and information sharing through a website and list-server. Through the activities of TerraGenome, we will help to provide the genetic foundation to better understand the diversity of microbial processes upon which the health and functioning of the plane is based (e.g., cycling of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, iron) and tap the potential of useful microbial enzymes and products (e.g., enzymes for cellulosic energy production, antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs). More information can be found at our website: http://www.terragenome.org/.


This project has produced the following publications:

Myrold, D.D., L.H. Zeglin, and J.K Jansson. 2014. The potential of metagenomic, and other omic, approaches for understanding soil microbial processes. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 78:3-10. (doi:10.2136/sssaj2013.07.0287dgs)

Myrold, D.D., and P. Nannipieri. 2014. Classical techniques versus omics approaches. p. 179-187. In Omics in Soil Science (P. Nannipieri, G. Pietramellara, and G. Renella, eds.). Caister Academic Press, Hethersett, UK.