Evolutionary Genome Mining for the Discovery and Engineering of Natural Product Biosynthesis

Methods Mol Biol. 2022;2489:129-155. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2273-5_8.


Genome mining has become an invaluable tool in natural products research to quickly identify and characterize the biosynthetic pathways that assemble secondary or specialized metabolites. Recently, evolutionary principles have been incorporated into genome mining strategies in an effort to better assess and prioritize novelty and understand their chemical diversification for engineering purposes. Here, we provide an introduction to the principles underlying evolutionary genome mining, including bioinformatic strategies and natural product biosynthetic databases. We introduce workflows for traditional genome mining, focusing on the popular pipeline antiSMASH, and methods to predict enzyme substrate specificity from genomic information. We then provide an in-depth discussion of evolutionary genome mining workflows, including EvoMining, CORASON, ARTS, and others, as adopted by our group for the discovery and prioritization of natural products biosynthetic gene clusters and their products.

Keywords: ARTS; CORASON; EvoMining; Evolutionary genome mining; Natural products evolution; Specialized metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products* / chemistry
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / genetics
  • Genome
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Genomics
  • Multigene Family


  • Biological Products