Natural product discovery through microbial genome mining

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2021 Feb:60:47-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2020.07.010. Epub 2020 Aug 24.


The advent of the genomic era has opened up enormous possibilities for the discovery of new natural products. Also known as specialized metabolites, these compounds produced by bacteria, fungi, and plants have long been sought for their bioactive properties. Innovations in both DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatics now allow the wealth of sequence data to be mined at both the genome and metagenome levels for new specialized metabolites. However, a key problem that remains is rapidly and efficiently linking these identified genes to their corresponding compounds. Within this review, we provide specific examples of studies that have used the power of genomic or metagenomic data to overcome these problems and identify new small molecules and their biosynthetic pathways.

Keywords: Genome mining; Genomics; Metagenomics; Specialized metabolite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products* / metabolism
  • Data Mining / methods*
  • Drug Discovery / methods*
  • Genome, Microbial / genetics*


  • Biological Products