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This article is part of the supplement: Beyond the Genome 2011

Open Access Open Badges Invited speaker presentation

Reconstructing microbial communities

Mihai Pop

  • Correspondence: Mihai Pop

Author Affiliations

University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Genome Biology 2011, 12(Suppl 1):I13  doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-s1-i13

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:19 September 2011

© 2011 Pop; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Invited speaker presentation

Metagenomic studies have allowed an unprecedented view of the microbial communities that inhabit our world and our bodies. Deep sequencing data have already been generated from several environments, as well as from various human body sites. As more data are generated, we are beginning to understand the structure of our commensal microbial communities and how microbes affect our health. Analyzing the metagenomic data, however, poses significant computational challenges, because few software tools are available that can handle the volume and characteristics of the data being generated. In my talk, I will primarily focus on the challenges posed by metagenomic assembly and will outline recent research in my laboratory aimed at meeting these challenges. I will also describe some of the analyses that can be performed on the assembled data but would not be possible in read-based analyses.