Report and Storify from Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomics: Day 1

Day 1 at the Lake Arrowhead Microbial Genomics Meeting was as always full of great talks relating to a variety of topics.  Officially the session topics were “Microbial Communities I: Microbiomes; Biodiversity” and “Microbial Communities II: Metagenomics/Biodiversity/Natural Products”.

Rather than summarize all the talks, I thought I’d embed the Storify of tweets here (thanks to Surya Saha for that) and summarize the things that I personally thought were exciting.

In no particular order:

The human gut microbiome is surprisingly resilient to perturbations (i.e. can return to the initial state)

Two of the talks showed really interesting data wherein commensal bacteria were resistant to compounds that were quite effective at killing pathogenic bacteria in the gut.  In one of these cases the compound was produced by another gut commensal which is pretty awesome.   This presumably helps explain some of the resilience mentioned above.

Apparently we inhale 10^4 to 10^8 microbes per hour outdoors.  Awesome.

There are a surprising amount of microbes in the atmosphere that might be involved in everything from dispersal to cloud formation.

Dust-associated microbial communities are structured by climate and soil pH for bacteria.

Rural and urban air look surprisingly similar in terms of microbial community composition.

Different people define the “hygiene hypothesis” in quite different ways.

It would be preferable if more people looked at absolute abundance of the microbes in their system if possible.

Men have more bacteria in their noses than women.

PacBio is becoming increasingly popular, especially among folks who needs high-quality reference genomes.  Or who need plasmids.  Some people using it for “phylotags” (full length 16S) which is great but still expensive.

We are probably missing more taxa with 16S PCR than most people tend to think about.

Single-cell genomics combined with metagenomics is a powerful tool to get at “microbial dark matter”.

All fancy tools aside, there is still a great need for cultured isolates and reference genomes.

Human-associated bacteria are clearly directly interacting with their hosts via signaling.

Leave a Reply

David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter