Interest in sampling of diverse environments,
combined with advances in high-throughput
sequencing, vastly accelerates the pace at which
new genomes and metagenomes are generated. For
example, as of January 2011, 12 500 user-generated
metagenomes have been submitted to the public
MG-RAST Annotation server (http://metagenomics.
nmpdr.org; Meyer et al., 2008), 490% of which
were produced using high-throughput sequencing
methodologies. We have entered into an era
of ‘mega-sequencing projects’ that include the
Genomic Encyclopaedia of Bacteria and Archaea
the Microbial Earth Project (http://genome.jgi-psf.
Human Microbiome Project (http://nihroadmap.nih.
gov/hmp), the Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal
Tract consortium (http://www.metahit.eu), the
Terragenome Initiative (http://www.terragenome.
org), the Tara Oceans Expedition (http://oceans.
taraexpeditions.org), the National Ecological Observatory
the International Census of Marine Microbes
(ICoMM-http://icomm.mbl.edu), Microbial Inventory
Research Across Diverse Aquatic Long-Term
Ecological Research Sites (http://amarallab.mbl.
edu/mirada/mirada.html), the Earth Microbiome
Project (http://www.earthmicrobiome.org) and other
funded and unfunded projects, with many more
visionary projects on the horizon.