Goals and History of the Microbial Genomics Conference
courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey H. Miller
There is great excitement in molecular biology over the prospect of comparing the sequences and contents of an emerging set of genomes, and of learning how these sequences operate to control specific genomes on a global basis. Using both genetics and functional genomics will be the focus of many different laboratories. A key element will be the integration of different aspects of microbiology, sequencing technology, analysis techniques, bioinformatics, and genetic studies. The goal of this conference is to provide a regular forum for these interactions to occur. While there have been a number of genome conferences, what distinguishes the Microbial Genomics conference is its emphasis on bringing together biology and genetics with sequencing and bioinformatics. Also, this conference is the longest continuing meeting, now established as a major regular annual meeting during the last 15 years. The 15th meeting will take place in College Park, Maryland, September 16-20, 2007. In addition to its coverage of small genomes, the meeting will highlight related areas including microbial communities, metagenomics, structural proteomics, and synthetic biology. We will also emphasize a new topic for this conference, bioenergy.
The concept of an annual meeting on the E. coli genome was formulated at the Banbury Center Conference on the Genome of E. coli in October, 1991. The first meeting was held on September 10-14, 1992, the second on September 9-13, 1993, both at the University of Wisconsin, and the third on November 4-8 in Woods Hole, MA. All three meetings were a great success, catalyzing an integrated approach to analyzing this genome.
The attendees at the second meeting recommended a third annual meeting to be held in Woods Hole, MA, to be followed in 1995 with the Cold Spring Harbor-sponsored meeting on bacterial and phage genetics with emphasis on E. coli, to be held in August. This meeting coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Advanced Bacterial Genetics Course at Cold Spring Harbor.
The fourth Genome meeting was held on September 8-12, 1996, at Lake Arrowhead, CA, and continued the extension of the meeting content with participation of investigators who are working on or have completed the sequence of other small genomes.
The fifth meeting was held in Snowbird, Utah, from October 12-15, 1997. The meeting celebrated the completion of the E. coli sequence, and included reports of numerous complete microorganism genomes. The meeting also extended its coverage to functional genomics, as well as trying to define the proteome.
The sixth meeting was held September 20-24, 1998 at Lake Arrowhead. To acknowledge the broadened focus of the meeting, the name was changed to "Small Genome Conference." The participants enthusiastically supported the organization of an annual meeting.
The seventh meeting was held November 13-17, 1999, in Arlington, Virginia,
the eighth September 24-28, 2000, at Lake Arrowhead, the ninth October
28 - November 1, 2001, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the 10th September 8-12,
2002, at Lake Arrowhead, the 11th September 28 - October 2, 2003 in Durham,
North Carolina, the 12th September 26-30 at Lake Arrowhead, the 13th September
11-15, 2005 in Madison, Wisconsin, and the 14th September 24-28, 2006
at Lake Arrowhead.