The advent of next-generation sequencing technology helped members of the Human Microbiome Project realize the goal of developing a resource representing microbial communities associated with healthy humans, according to HMP consortium member Bruce Birren.

Both 454 and Illumina sequencing methods made it possible to "generate the largest metagenomic data set yet produced," explained Birren, who directs the Broad Institute's genomic sequencing center for infectious diseases and co-directs its genome sequencing and analysis program.

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