Microbial communities harbor immense genetic diversity with enormous promise for applications in bioproduct synthesis and green chemistry. Metagenomic libraries provide a window into this largely untapped reservoir of nucleic acid diversity. Individual libraries have been generated from a variety of terrestrial and aquatic environments but access to this reservoir is limited because the metagenomic libraries are typically project-specific and maintained in isolation. In an effort to enable the sharing of genetic material from environmental samples for the benefit of the scientific community, we are establishing the Canadian MetaMicroBiome Library (CM²BL).
The CM²BL is a publicly accessible collection of libraries of environmental DNA initiated with soil samples collected from across Canada spanning multiple biomes and ecozones. The CM²BL will be characterized by DNA sequencing techniques and screens for industrially relevant enzymes to determine the taxonomic, genetic, and metabolic diversity of each sample. Phenotypic screening of metagenomic libraries provides access to truly novel functions that would otherwise be missed by sequence-based surveys of bulk community DNA or metagenomic libraries.