The Pace of Genome Binning From Metagenomes

- - posted in bioinformatics

With the pace of science what seemed top stuff three years ago is now an order of magnitude less than what just got published.

When I was in my PhD I was working on EBPR communities using metagenomics to characterize the the microbial and phage populations. From all of my microbial data I could get about 70 draft bacterial genomes. At the time (2012) that was pretty huge considering the first big paper on genome binning from metagenomes got 49 draft bacteria (Wrighton et al, 2012). The next year a similar study from EBPR recovered 31 draft genome bins (Albertsen et al, 2013). One of the big results from all this computational effort is that a number of genomes from candidate phyla. In 2012 I was super excited that I had multiple genomes from Saccharibacteria and Microgenomates which at the time had only a few genome representatives. At the time I thought I had the richest dataset in the world (which I most definitely did not) now three years later and ~800 genome bins just got published mostly from those candidate phyla I just mentioned (Brown et al, 2015). It seems like the magnitude of the cutting edge just went up a notch…