Population genomic analyses have demonstrated power to address major questions in evolutionary and molecular microbiology. Collecting populations of genomes is hindered in many microbial species by the absence of a cost effective and practical method to collect ample quantities of sufficiently pure genomic DNA for next-generation sequencing. Selective whole genome amplification (SWGA) is a simple method to amplify genomes of a target microbial species present in a complex, natural sample. The SWGA technique amplifies target genomes using nucleotide sequence motifs that are common in the target microbe genome, but rare in the background genomes, to prime the highly processive phi29 polymerase. SWGA thus selectively amplifies the target genome from samples in which it originally represented a minor fraction of the total DNA. The post-SWGA samples are enriched in target genomic DNA, which are ideal for population resequencing.