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7.25 Metagenomics

Anne Jurkowski and Jo Handelsman

June 2008/Nature Microbiology Reviews

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Metagenomics is a powerful tool that can be used to analyse microbial communities regardless of the ability of member organisms to be cultured in the laboratory. Metagenomics is based on the genomic analysis of microbial DNA that is extracted directly from communities present in samples such as soil, water or faeces. This technology — genomics on a huge scale — will probably lead to major advances in medicine, agriculture, energy production and bioremediation. Metagenomics could unlock the massive uncultured microbial diversity present in the environment to provide new molecules for therapeutic and biotechnological applications. This poster provides an overview of the technology and applications of metagenomics. The poster is freely available thanks to support from the National Academies and the National Science Foundation.

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