October 15, 2016 (Vol. 36, No. 18)
Strong Points: Current protocols, freely accessible dataset
Weak Points: Publications and events not up-to-date
Recent research has highlighted the great diversity of microbes comprising the human microbiome, but researchers behind the Earth Microbiome Project have their eyes set on something even more ambitious: to systematically characterize the diversity of microbes across the globe. Yes, this is a monumental task, and yes, this is going to keep many researchers busy for many, many years. In the meantime, researchers can access the ever-growing EMP dataset from the project’s website, as well as access publications related to the project. (The most recent publications, however, are from 2014.) Due to the lack of reported publications in the past few years, it may seem that the project is not very active; however, the protocols section of the website continues to be updated with the latest technologies. Thus, it appears that the ambitious group of researchers continues toward the project’s goal of cataloguing the great diversity of microbes around the world.