The Human Microbiome Project (HMP) was launched in 2008 by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) for the study of symbiotic microbes that outnumber somatic cells and germ cells in the human body. The objective of this project is to sequence 1000 or more symbiotic microbial species and then assemble the information as a project catalog for future investigational reference.
Nikos Kirpides, a molecular biologist in the Genomics division of Berkeley Labs, said that the HMP project catalog will serve as a unique worldwide resource. Kyrpides, Markowitz and other colleagues at the DACC are playing a crucial role in data acquisition since daunting problems faced in genomics research include the lack of a common language and the absence of a clearing house. The greatest challenge, however, is in handling hundreds of metagenomic datasets.
At present, GenePRIMP, GOLD and IMG/M are among the mostly used tools. Kyrpides said that new sequencing technologies and massive data generated are mandating the scientists to work collaboratively. He added that joint efforts like the HMP will only help scientists succeed.