We’ve tended to measure our success with sequencing genomes in terms of our ability to sequence the billions of bases in the human genome. But the progress has made completing the genomes of bacteria, which are typically a thousand times smaller, relatively trivial. For these organisms, we actually have the luxury of being able to do a thorough survey of genomes.So far, however, the emphasis has been on sequencing the ones we know well: the lab strains, those associated with major diseases, etc. A new paper takes an approach that’s less driven by self-interest. Its authors surveyed hundreds of strains of bacteria and archaea that we know how to culture, and picked 200 of them that are broadly dispersed across the tree of life, based on the sequence of a ribosomal RNA gene. They’re now in the process of completing the genomes of all of them, and the paper serves as an interim report.
Read more on Ars Technica.