Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) has been studying on the mechanisms of adaptation to extreme environments of microbes thriving in ocean and deep-sea. After completion of the first genome sequencing project of Haemophilus influenzae, we also initiated the genome sequencing project in 1997 to explore the genomic potential for adaptation mechanisms to extreme environments. Our microbial genome research group, which started in 2001, completed the genome sequencing projects of three extremophiles possessing alkaliphilic, extremely halotolerant alkaliphilic, and thermophilic properties to date and their genomic data have been accessible from our ExtremoBase web site .
Although the microbial genome sequences give us great advantageous information to understand the physiological properties, the microbes whose genomic sequences have been determined are just a part of whole microbial community, which is very complex and mostly composed of uncultivable microbes. Actually, the genomic information from the limited isolates is not so helpful to grasp the functional potential of the whole community and role of each isolate in the microbial community. Thus, we began metagenomic analysis as a new approach to figure out the functional potential in the whole microbial community and our microbial genome research group restarted in 2009 as “Environmental Metagenome Research Team” in the 2nd stage of the research program.