Thursday, July 22, 2010

What is not getting any love at this #metagenomics meeting

Well, Here I am for day 2 in Snowbird at a meeting/workshop discussing the potential for "Terrabase metagenomics". The main point of the meeting is to discuss whether there would be value in massive massive Metagenomic sequencing in one way or another. I note I have enjoyed this meeting so far greatly - nice and small with some really good people.

Yesterday i gave a talk on microbial evolution and a few others talked about other topics (Rob Knight talked about microbiomes, Jeroen Raes discussed multiple Metagenomic projects, and Rachel Mackelprang discussed permafrost metagenomics). I will write more i hope soon about the science side of this meeting. But that is not what I am here to write about today. I am going to tell you what topics were not getting any love so far at this meetings. And this is not a completely snarky thing here - what people complain about does give some feel for what people are thinking about. In no particular order, here are some examples.

  • The human microbiome project (well, some parts of it)
  • The CAMERA metagenomics DB (significant disappointment in their progress )
  • NCBI (or specifically the short read archive)
  • Bureaucracy (and how it impedes science)
  • Lack of support for informatics
  • Lack of air (we are at 8000+ feet)
  • Large meetings
  • Jet lag
  • IRBs
  • Lack of RAM (many Metagenomic analyses require massive amounts RAM)
  • Bad alcohol (as in drinks)
  • Plants and animals (this is a meeting focusing on microbes)
  • Lack of cooperation among funding agencies
  • Pathogens (most people here are interested in either human commensals or environmental organisms)
  • Difficulty in founding joint projects between US and Europe
  • Projects that don't collect metadata
  • Software tools that don't work with each other


  1. I think it's Tera (as in 10^12) not Terra (as in Earth)

  2. Indeed Indeed. Alas, spelling is always the first thing to go ...


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