Environmental Genome Shotgun Sequencing of the Sargasso Sea

J. Craig Venter*, Karin Remington, John F. Heidelberg, Aaron L. Halpern, Doug Rusch, Jonathan A. Eisen, Dongying Wu, Ian Paulsen, Karen E. Nelson, William Nelson, Derrick E. Fouts, Samuel Levy, Anthony H. Knap, Michael W. Lomas, Ken Nealson, Owen White, Jeremy Peterson, Jeff Hoffman, Rachel Parsons, Holly Baden-Tillson & 3 others Cynthia Pfannkoch, Yu Hui Rogers, Hamilton O. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2813 Citations (Scopus)


We have applied "whole-genome shotgun sequencing" to microbial populations collected en masse on tangential flow and impact filters from seawater samples collected from the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda. A total of 1.045 billion base pairs of nonredundant sequence was generated, annotated, and analyzed to elucidate the gene content, diversity, and relative abundance of the organisms within these environmental samples. These data are estimated to derive from at least 1800 genomic species based on sequence relatedness, including 148 previously unknown bacterial phylotypes. We have identified over 1.2 million previously unknown genes represented in these samples, including more than 782 new rhodopsin-tike photoreceptors. Variation in species present and stoichiometry suggests substantial oceanic microbial diversity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
Issue number5667
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes

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