BOX 7-1

Key Outcomes of Large-Scale Projects in the Global Metagenomics Initiative

  • Broad principles and unifying theory for microbial-community ecology.

  • Large-scale, intensive studies of important habitats or questions.

  • Methods of broad applicability to metagenomics research, both basic and applied.

  • Massive contributions to metagenomics databases.

  • Standards for data acquisition, management, and release in the field of metagenomics.

  • Lessons about economies of scale in metagenomics research.

  • International cooperation and collaboration.

  • Training for young people in the conduct and management of international, collaborative “big science” projects.

  • An opportunity to share science with the public and train graduate students to do so effectively.

enough depth of analysis to assess the variation within and between sites with precision.

The large-scale projects would be “virtual” centers. They would include scientists at many locations in the world to maximize the scientific diversity of the project team. Communication would be achieved by frequent meetings in person and by videoconference or other technology that becomes available during the course of the projects. The projects would probably need to be sustained for 10 years; so changes in personnel and participating institutions during a project’s lifetime would be expected.

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