Full text loading...
Chapter 24 : The Paradigm Shift in Microbial Prospecting
This chapter explores the posited paradigm shift from traditional microbiology to bioinformatics in the search for exploitable biology. It also refers to the extraordinary rate of biological data acquisition and deposition in the world's databases. These databases are classified by type (e.g., genomes, gene expression, proteins, RNA sequences, pathology), but the distinction between categories is often arbitrary and individual databases may provide more than one type of information. Integration of the molecular biology databases, although by no means perfect, has attracted serious attention and may be able to deliver useful information on issues such as a protein's structure, function, phylogenetic occurrence, expression, and protein-protein interactions. Similarly, the various bioinformatics research groups and commercial organizations are developing multidatabase query systems that enable interoperability of heterogeneous, formerly incompatible resources. Within the medical sector, bioinformatics objectives have included (i) the detection and identification of pathogens, (ii) the identity of drug targets, and (iii) the search for new drugs and vaccines. The final stratagem to be considered for producing novel exploitable biology is directed evolution, which, as genome sequencing projects continue to grow, promises to become a principal route for search and discovery. Evolution via natural and artificial (sensu traditional animal and plant breeding) selection is dependent on genetic variation, inheritance, and differential reproduction.