The Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition

EN: Even if you are usually not interested in Metagenomics - the pure size of the Global Ocean Sampling Expedition results is impressive. The Craig Venter Institute published a collection of papers (and other media) about that was expected already for a long time ago. Seems like this huge amount of data and other technical issues were hard to handle. But now the first part of the the ocean sequencing trip analysis is out.

These samples, collected across a several-thousand km transect from the North Atlantic through the Panama Canal and ending in the South Pacific yielded an extensive dataset consisting of 7.7 million sequencing reads (6.3 billion bp).

The number of interesting biological observations and novelties is lower than expected for such a giant project (Roland once mentioned this discrepancy for metagenomic studies) but there is still much potential in the data for further analyses.

Update: The video of the press conference is online now. Pedro followed it live and blogged some comments. This publication brought up again some voices questioning the (expensive) general metagenomic method. Working with this noisy data I can tell that it is often quite a pain. But to get the big image even if it would just show us we have seen already everything we have to go that way. Hopefully improving technologies - I once mentioned single-cell sequencing combined with microfluid separation systems - will make it easier for us to explore the unknown wold out there.

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