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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2012 Jun;23(3):460-6. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2011.12.021. Epub 2012 Jan 4.

Applications of functional gene microarrays for profiling microbial communities.

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Institute for Environmental Genomics, Department of Botany and Microbiology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.


Functional gene arrays (FGAs) have been considered as a specific, sensitive, quantitative, and high throughput metagenomic tool to detect, monitor and characterize microbial communities. Especially GeoChips, the most comprehensive FGAs have been applied to analyze the functional diversity, composition, structure, and metabolic potential or activity of a variety of microbial communities from different habitats, such as aquatic ecosystems, soils, contaminated sites, extreme environments, and bioreactors. FGAs are able to address fundamental questions related to global change, bioremediation, land use, human health, and ecological theories, and link the microbial community structure to environmental properties and ecosystem functioning. This review focuses on applications of FGA technology for profiling microbial communities, including target preparation, hybridization and data processing, and data analysis. We also discuss challenges and future directions of FGA applications.

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