Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.” This statement is just as true today, 500 years after it was written, and is particularly applicable to the microorganisms that inhabit the soil as the identities and roles of most of these microorganisms remain a mystery; even the relevance of microbial diversity to the functioning of soils remains obscure. The complete sequencing of a soil metagenome (i.e., the genomes of all microorganisms inhabiting the soil environment) is now an achievable objective that requires a strong international and interdisciplinary collaboration. The purpose of the TerraGenome network is to facilitate activities that will increase our knowledge and understanding of the soil metagenome.
TerraGenome Activities Funded
We have just received funding from the US National Science Foundation to establish a Research Coordination Network (RCN). The TerraGenome RCN will facilitate the international community involved in soil metagenomics 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 the TerraGenome website.
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