IMG/M integrates aggregate genome (also known as metagenome) data from diverse environmental microbial communities with isolate microbial genome data from JGI's Integrated Microbial Genomes (IMG) system and allows the application of IMG's comparative analysis tools on metagenome data. New tools also enable the examination of functional annotation profiles across microbial communities and isolated organisms of interest, and the analysis of strain-level heterogeneity within a species population in metagenome data.
Thus far, IMG/M has been used for completing the analysis of biological phosphorus removing (EBPR) sewage sludge communities and for studying the metagenomes of several key microbial communities recently sequenced by DOE JGI, including the hydrogen-producing consortium colonizing the termite hindgut.
"IMG/M has proven to be an extremely useful resource and tool for analyzing our metagenomic data," said Jared R. Leadbetter, Assistant Professor of Environmental Microbiology at the California Institute of Technology, and collaborator on the termite hindgut microbial community for bioenergy project. "Such datasets are large, complex, and potentially unwieldy. Importantly, IMG/M is more than just an excellent tool to analyze data. The manner in which the results of that analysis are organized and made accessible through a user-friendly interface allows the researcher to rapidly move in a number of different intellectual directions. As a result, the user becomes better educated with and gets a real 'feel' for the data in a manner that would not otherwise be possible on such short timescales."