Like many fields of the biosciences, actinomycete natural products research has been revolutionised by next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS). Hundreds of new genome sequences from actinobacteria are made public every year, many of them as a result of projects aimed at identifying new natural products and their biosynthetic pathways through genome mining. Advances in these technologies in the last five years have meant not only a reduction in the cost of whole genome sequencing, but also a substantial increase in the quality of the data, having moved from obtaining a draft genome sequence comprised of several hundred short contigs, sometimes of doubtful reliability, to the possibility of obtaining an almost complete and accurate chromosome sequence in a single contig, allowing a detailed study of gene clusters and the design of strategies for refactoring and full gene cluster synthesis. The impact that these technologies are having in the discovery and study of natural products from actinobacteria, including those from the marine environment, is only starting to be realised. In this review we provide a historical perspective of the field, analyse the strengths and limitations of the most relevant technologies, and share the insights acquired during our genome mining projects.
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