June 07, 2016
Sponsored by
New England BioLabs

GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series: Experimental and Computational Standards in Metagenomics


Associate Professor, Weill Cornell Medical

Chair ABRF Metagenomics Research Group and Extreme Microbiome Project, Manager Massively Parallel Sequencing Facility, University of Vermont Cancer Center

This online seminar, part of the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series, provided an overview of experimental and computational standards for metagenomics that have been developed as part of the Genomes in a Bottle standards consortium.

Over the last decade, major advances in sequencing technology have led to a surge in large-scale metagenomics and microbiome studies. As these studies continue to grow both in number and in scope, researchers face methodological and computational challenges for experimental design and interpretation. Recently, several groups have come together to address these challenges and develop standardized samples and methods for DNA sequencing, including the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities Research Groups on next-generation sequencing and metagenomics, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, all of whom work together in the Genome in a Bottle standards consortium. These efforts encompass multiple stages of genomics and metagenomics work including study design, sample collection, DNA extraction, library preparation, sequencing, and computational analysis.

During this webinar, Christopher Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College and Scott Tighe of the University of Vermont provided an overview of metagenomics standards that leverage a titrated mixture of known bacteria and eukaryotes. These have been sequenced across multiple next-generation sequencing platforms and characterized with ten different algorithms for taxonomic classification. The consortium members have also aggregated a set of 30 control samples for additional classification.

Dr. Mason and Dr. Tighe reported on a number of findings from the project, including the fact that sites of cross-algorithm agreement can lead to the most accurate estimate of the number of species from a new sample. They also presented an online resource for these tools, methods, and data sets; all of which are freely available. These methods and standards can help the many large-scale metagenomics projects around the world (and even some in space).

About the GenomeWeb/ABRF 2016 Webinar Series: GenomeWeb has partnered with the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities to produce a series of online seminars highlighting methods, techniques, and instrumentation that support life science research. More information about ABRF and its activities is available here. Please check GenomeWeb's webinar schedule for future webinars in this series. The series is sponsored by New England BioLabs.

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