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Chapter 9 : Metagenomics as a Tool To Study Biodiversity
Category: Genomics and Bioinformatics; Environmental Microbiology
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Most of the viral sequences that were identified from the rumen metagenome study were novel, with cyanophages and a newly discovered clade of single-stranded DNA phages dominating the samples that were obtained from the Sargasso Sea sample. The authors presented data that showed variation in viral assemblages based of different geographic locations and indicated regional diversity of phages can be almost as high as global diversity, possibly as a result of viral migration. Metagenomics is being used to describe the transcriptome of various environmental samples. In the study, the authors clearly demonstrated that suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) can allow a clear discerning and identification of DNA fragments that are unique to one complex community relative to another. In the case of eukaryotic organisms that contain introns, the transcriptome is usually accessed by reverse transcription. In many cases the genome of a single species cannot give insight into the extent of diversity within a species. The results from the study showed that for the three animals included in this study that were on identical diets, the community structures were markedly different with respect to nutrient utilization. Metagenomics presents the greatest opportunity to revolutionize understanding of the microbial world, and a detailed analysis of carefully chosen microbial communities worldwide is required.
Present methods for performing metagenomic studies. (Adapted with permission from Steve Gill, University of Buffalo.)