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A Short Story on Metagenomics

BY: Shanky Bhat | Category: Bioinformatics | Submitted: 2013-01-29 10:11:04
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Article Summary: "Metagenomics a gateway to study uncultured microorganisms. The term metagenomics can be defined as the complete genomic analysis of the environmental sample. Our environment is rich source of microbes be it any condition, microbes are able to survive, this quality make them unique in their own way..."


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The term metagenomics can be defined as the complete genomic analysis of the environmental sample. Our environment is rich source of microbes be it any condition, microbes are able to survive, this quality make them unique in their own way.

There are many microorganisms which cannot be cultured by standard plate techniques this limits our knowledge about them, the term metagenomics can serve as answer to those uncultivable bacteria and hence help us to know the mystery of hidden microbes. Metagenomics is a rapidly growing field of research that has had a great effect on the way we view and study the microbial world. With the direct investigation of viruses, bacteria and fungi irrespective of their cultivability or taxonomic identities, metagenomics has changed microbiological theory and methods and has also challenged the classical concept of species. This new field of scientific biology has proven to be comprehensive and rich source which is making important contributions in many areas of science including biodiversity, ecology, bioremediation, bio prospection of natural products, and in medicine.

Metagenomics is the large-scale study of the DNA of naturally existing microbial communities rather than 'artificial' lab cultures. It can include the shotgun sequencing of all the genomes in these communities, but is most likely to be about sequencing and screening large segments of DNA extracted from wide-ranging environmental samples. Metagenomics can do more, however, than just provide microbiologists with lots of interesting DNA sequence data. It takes a non-traditional focus on the genomic resource of an energetic microbial community, rather than on individual strains of microbes or individual genes and their functions. A community genomics perspectives inspect how horizontal transfer allows otherwise distantly connected organisms to share these resources. Moreover, metagenomics analyses microbial communities as systems that have functional properties that go yonder those of individual genes or individual microbes (or even single-taxon populations).

Metabolic cascades, for example, can be dispersed over different members of multi-taxa syntrophic communities. It could be said, therefore, that metagenomics studies something like a meta organism, and that understanding such an entity also involves a systems-biologic approach.

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