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Microb Ecol. 2007 Aug;54(2):276-89. Epub 2007 Mar 8.

Genotypic microbial community profiling: a critical technical review.

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Center for Biofilm Engineering, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-3980, USA.


Microbial ecology has undergone a profound change in the last two decades with regard to methods employed for the analysis of natural communities. Emphasis has shifted from culturing to the analysis of signature molecules including molecular DNA-based approaches that rely either on direct cloning and sequencing of DNA fragments (shotgun cloning) or often rely on prior amplification of target sequences by use of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The pool of PCR products can again be either cloned and sequenced or can be subjected to an increasing variety of genetic profiling methods, including amplified ribosomal DNA restriction analysis, automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis, terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, temperature gradient gel electrophoresis, single strand conformation polymorphism, and denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography. In this document, we present and critically compare these methods commonly used for the study of microbial diversity.

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