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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2003 Jun;14(3):303-10.

Biotechnological prospects from metagenomics.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, Russell Laboratories, University of Wisconsin, 1630 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


The recognition that most microorganisms in the environment cannot be cultured by standard methods stimulated the development of metagenomics, which is the genomic analysis of uncultured microorganisms. Two types of analysis have been used to obtain information from metagenomic libraries: a function-driven approach, in which metagenomic libraries are initially screened for an expressed trait, and a sequence-driven approach, in which libraries are initially screened for particular DNA sequences. New antibiotics and enzymes are among the early discoveries from metagenomics. Future refinement of methods that enrich for genes of particular function will accelerate the rate of discovery of useful molecules.

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