What is metagenomics?

Metagenomics is the study of genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples. The field is the investigation of the full microbiotic community and its genetic complement. The microbial ecological communities within any environment have traditionally been vastly underestimated due to the limitations of standard culture methods. Instead of relying on traditional microbiological cultures, metagenomics employs microbial genome sequencing, cultivated clonal cultures, and exhaustive environmental gene sequencing (often the 16S rRNA gene) to produce a profile of diversity in a natural sample. This research has revealed that the vast majority of microbial biodiversity had been missed by prior standard methods although previously thought to be fully representative of the entire panoply of microbes that might interact with an organism. By this means, a previously hidden diversity of microscopic life has been revealed.  Metagenomics offers a powerful new means of understanding the underlying complexity of microbial life that is an obligatory part of all holobionts and the hologenome

 

About William B.Miller, Jr., M.D.

Founder of Hologenome
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