Over 99% of the microbial species observed in nature cannot be grown in pure culture making them inaccessible to classical genomic studies. Metagenomics and single cell genomics are two approaches to study the microbial ‘dark matter’.
Metagenomics, the direct analysis of DNA from a whole environmental community, represents a strategy for discovering genes with diverse functionality. In the past, the identification of new genes with desired activities has relied primarily on relatively low-throughput function-based screening of environmental DNA clone libraries. Current sequencing technologies can generate more than 600 Gbp of sequence data in a single experiment, allowing sequence-based metagenomic discovery of complete genes or even genomes from environmental samples with moderate microbial species complexity. more...
Single Cell Genomics
A complementary approach to sequencing the DNA of a whole microbial community is single cell genomics. Over 99% of the microbial species observed in nature cannot be grown in pure culture, making it impossible to study them using classical genomic methods. DNA sequencing from single amplified genomes of individual cells is a novel approach in genome research, which allows to study the genomes of uncultured species from diverse environments. more...