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Extending our view of self: the human gut microbiome initiative (HGMI)

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Gordon, J., Ley, R., Wilson, R., Mardis, E., Xu, J., Fraser, C., et al. (2006). Extending our view of self: the human gut microbiome initiative (HGMI).

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-437D-E
Our adult bodies harbor ~10 times more microbial than human cells. Their genomes (the microbiome) endow us with physiologic capacities that we have not had to evolve on our own and thus are both a manifestation of who we are genetically and metabolically, and a reflection of our state of well-being. Our distal gut is the highest density natural bacterial ecosystem known, the most comprehensively surveyed to date, and the most highly represented in pure culture. It contains more bacterial cells than all of our other microbial communities combined. To obtain a more comprehensive view of our biol-ogy, we propose a human gut microbiome initiative (HGMI) that will deliver deep draft whole genome sequences for 100 species representing the bacterial divisions (superkingdoms) known to comprise our distal gut microbiota: 15 of these genomes will be selected for finishing. A cost-effective strategy in-volves producing the bulk of the coverage by shotgun reads on a 454 Life Sciences pyrosequencer. Long-range linking information will be provided by paired end reads of fosmid subclones using a con-ventional ABI 3730xl capillary machine. The bulk of our sequencing will use human-derived strains, representing targeted phylotypes, from existing culture collections. The list will be augmented by in vivo culture of a human fecal microbiota in gnotobiotic mice. The latter approach will be used to obtain vastly simplified consortia, or pure cultures of previously uncultured representatives of important gut-associated bacteria. The deposited curated genome sequences will herald another phase of completion of the 'human' genome sequencing project, provide a key reference for metagenome projects, and serve as a model for future initiatives that seek to characterize our other extra-intestinal microbial communities.