The Hungate1000 project aims to produce a reference set of rumen microbial genome sequences from cultivated rumen bacteria and methanogenic archaea, together with representative cultures of rumen anaerobic fungi and ciliate protozoa. The idea for the project arose during a workshop held in New Zealand in February 2011 to discuss establishing a Rumen Microbial Genomics Network, where the need for reference rumen microbial genomes was identified as a key area for collaboration.
The reference genome information gathered will be used for two main purposes:
1) To support international efforts to develop methane mitigation and rumen adaptation technologies.
2) To initiate genome-enabled research aimed at understanding rumen function in order to find a balance between food production and greenhouse gas emissions.
The project is funded by the New Zealand Government in support of the Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. The sequencing effort has obtained support from the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute Community Sequencing Program, and the overall project is a global collaboration between members of the Rumen Microbial Genomics Network, a network established to accelerate knowledge development and mitigation solutions in the rumen microbial genomics research area.
The project title refers to the pioneering work in culturing strictly anaerobic rumen bacteria carried out by Dr. Robert (Bob) E. Hungate.