Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Ecol. 2018 Jan;27(2):313-338. doi: 10.1111/mec.14478. Epub 2018 Mar 3.

Scaling up: A guide to high-throughput genomic approaches for biodiversity analysis.

Author information

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario and Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.
Natural Resources Canada, Great Lakes Forestry Centre, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada.


The purpose of this review is to present the most common and emerging DNA-based methods used to generate data for biodiversity and biomonitoring studies. As environmental assessment and monitoring programmes may require biodiversity information at multiple levels, we pay particular attention to the DNA metabarcoding method and discuss a number of bioinformatic tools and considerations for producing DNA-based indicators using operational taxonomic units (OTUs), taxa at a variety of ranks and community composition. By developing the capacity to harness the advantages provided by the newest technologies, investigators can "scale up" by increasing the number of samples and replicates processed, the frequency of sampling over time and space, and even the depth of sampling such as by sequencing more reads per sample or more markers per sample. The ability to scale up is made possible by the reduced hands-on time and cost per sample provided by the newest kits, platforms and software tools. Results gleaned from broad-scale monitoring will provide opportunities to address key scientific questions linked to biodiversity and its dynamics across time and space as well as being more relevant for policymakers, enabling science-based decision-making, and provide a greater socio-economic impact. As genomic approaches are continually evolving, we provide this guide to methods used in biodiversity genomics.


DNA barcode; biodiversity; bioinformatics; biomonitoring; environment; high-throughput sequencing; metabarcoding; metagenomics

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center