Isolating Genomes from the Masses

Researchers find a way to determine the sequence of a single species from metagenomics data of entire microbial communities.

By | February 6, 2012

Puget Sound, WashingtonWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, KATHY CALM

Metagenomics is the practice of taking a sample—a scoop of dirt or a cup of seawater—and sequencing all the DNA within. The technique helps researchers estimate the diversity of organisms found in a given environment, but until now, it wasn’t effective at sequencing individual species because there was no way to parse apart the data.

But a new computational approach published yesterday (February 2) in Science may provide the answer and allow researchers to sequence individual genomes from metagenomic data. The researchers applied their method to water samples taken from the surface of the Puget Sound, and were able to extract two complete genomes from a slurry of DNA from 14 different organisms.

“Our approach is exciting because it finally opens up a window to determine how entire microbial communities work,” study co-author Virginia Armbrust of the University of Washington in Seattle told Nature.  The technique will also allow researchers to sequence organisms that have not yet been grown in culture—a necessary step for traditional sequencing techniques. Indeed, one of the genomes Armbrust and her colleagues assembled was that of a Euryarchaeota species, a marine microorganism that has never been cultured in the lab.

The team plans to release the new software later this year, Nature reported.

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Comments

Avatar of: danielhpope

danielhpope

Posts: 1

February 7, 2012

This approach is very interesting.  However, it seems that limited amount of information about "new species" can be obtained without culturing the microbes in question.  It is possible that studying the DNA from these "so far unculturable" microbes could lead to methods to culture them e.g. if the microbe in question has genes coding for sulfate reduction then this should lead to culture methods allowing the microbe to be cultured and studied in more detail.

Thanks

Daniel H. Pope, Ph.D.

Avatar of: IwonaGrad

IwonaGrad

Posts: 13

February 7, 2012

Very interesting and potentially powerful technique, pity no details.

Avatar of: vaibhav phokmare

vaibhav phokmare

Posts: 1

February 7, 2012

Intriguing and exciting too.....where shall I get details about it?

Avatar of: Namby Ravi Reddiar

Namby Ravi Reddiar

Posts: 1457

February 7, 2012

How they are doing it, there has to be a common traits for individual organism,that basis might helps here.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

How they are doing it, there has to be a common traits for individual organism,that basis might helps here.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Intriguing and exciting too.....where shall I get details about it?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Very interesting and potentially powerful technique, pity no details.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Intriguing and exciting too.....where shall I get details about it?

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

How they are doing it, there has to be a common traits for individual organism,that basis might helps here.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

This approach is very interesting.  However, it seems that limited amount of information about "new species" can be obtained without culturing the microbes in question.  It is possible that studying the DNA from these "so far unculturable" microbes could lead to methods to culture them e.g. if the microbe in question has genes coding for sulfate reduction then this should lead to culture methods allowing the microbe to be cultured and studied in more detail.

Thanks

Daniel H. Pope, Ph.D.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

Very interesting and potentially powerful technique, pity no details.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

February 7, 2012

This approach is very interesting.  However, it seems that limited amount of information about "new species" can be obtained without culturing the microbes in question.  It is possible that studying the DNA from these "so far unculturable" microbes could lead to methods to culture them e.g. if the microbe in question has genes coding for sulfate reduction then this should lead to culture methods allowing the microbe to be cultured and studied in more detail.

Thanks

Daniel H. Pope, Ph.D.

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