Insights into the evolution of non-model organisms are limited by the lack of reference genomes of high accuracy, completeness, and contiguity. In addition, despite advances in sequencing, lack of standardization makes comparisons across studies challenging, especially in the context of microbial ecology, Dr. Tim Mousseau, professor in our department, contributed to a major international collaborative effort to address these limitations.
In a first study titled "A chromosome-level reference genome and pangenome for barn swallow population genomics" published in Cell Reports, Tim Mousseau and colleagues present a chromosome-level, karyotype-validated reference genome and pangenome for the barn swallow Hirundo rustica. Using this reference genome, the authors further identified conserved and accelerated regions in the barn swallow genome, generated a catalog of genetic markers and identified a list of candidate genes potentially under selection in this species.
In a second study titled "Standardized multi-omics of Earth’s microbiomes reveals microbial and metabolite diversity" published in Nature Microbiology, Tim Mousseau and colleagues present a multi-omics analysis of a diverse set of 880 microbial community samples collected for the Earth Microbiome Project. The authors used standardized protocols and analytical methods to characterize microbial communities, focusing on relationships and co-occurrences of microbially related metabolites and microbial taxa across environments. They used their new database to test the hypothesis that every microbe and metabolite is everywhere but the environment selects. Find out what they found here!