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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2012 Oct;15(5):605-12. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Jul 23.

Metagenomics: microbial diversity through a scratched lens.

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Department of Microbiology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, United States.


Since nucleic acids were first extracted directly from the environment and sequenced, metagenomics has grown to one of the most data-rich and pervasive techniques for understanding the taxonomic and functional diversity of microbial communities. In the last decade, cheaper sequencing has democratized the application of metagenomics and generated billions of reads, revealing staggering microbial diversity and functional complexity. However, cheaper sequencing has come at the cost of reduced sequence length, resulting in poor gene annotation and overestimates of bacterial richness and abundance. Recent improvements in sequencing technology are beginning to provide reads of sufficient length for accurate annotation and assembly of whole operons and beyond, that will once again enable experimental testing of gene function and re-capture the early successes of metagenomic investigations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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