MAGO platform: an important tool for the production and mass evolutionary analysis of microbial genomes

The interdisciplinary group of researchers from the Biotechnical Faculty, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering of the University of Ljubljana and the Jožef Stefan Institute (Assoc. Prof. Dr. Boštjan Murovec, a junior researcher Leon Deutsch, Prof. Dr. Blaž Stres) achieved a significant milestone in the production and mass evolutionary analysis of microbial genomes with the development of the MAGO information platform.

Microbes (bacteria, archaea, fungi, protozoa, viruses) perform key metabolic processes. The knowledge of genomes is crucial for modelling their interactions, understanding their physiology and the molecular evolution of life, and the detection of microbes in the environment. Due to the complexity of interactions and the composition of microbial populations, we employ top-down approaches in research such as metagenomics and metatranscriptomics. The main obstacle is the reconstruction of genomes from omics data.

As the first platform to combine different programmes, the Metagenome-Assembled Genomes Orchestra (MAGO) removes this obstacle by drastically simplifying and speeding up the assembly and completion of draft genomes from metagenomes and metatranscriptomes, increasing completeness (MIMAG, MISAG standards) and enabling genome annotation (GenBank) and evolutionary placement (phylogeny of the highest probability) on a large number of markers, and delimitations of species boundaries and genomic operational taxonomic units (ANIs).

MAGO is the first fully parallelised, open source, scalable platform for the mass reconstruction of genomes from environmental omics data and their direct inclusion in the new Genome Taxonomy Database ( It has been released in three versions appropriate for high-performance computer clusters (HPC, Singularity, Docker, virtual machine) and suitable for research, teaching and industry. It enables the discovery of new microbial groups, both from small single-cell projects and large-scale and complex environmental metagenomes currently running at eight HPCs worldwide. The article by the interdisciplinary group was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, IF = 14.797, quarter 1, within the top 10 percent in the field.

Source: Murovec B., Deutsch L., Stres, B. Computational Framework for High-Quality Production and Large-Scale Evolutionary Analysis of Metagenome Assembled Genomes. Mol. Biol. Evol., 37 (2020), 593-598. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msz237.