Next Generation Sequencing and the Future of Microbial Metagenomics
Andreas Wilke, Peter Larsen and Jack A Gilbert
from: Next-generation Sequencing: Current Technologies and Applications (Edited by: Jianping Xu). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)
Microbial ecology is going through a turbulent time, which is to be expected for a relatively young field. Here we explore the impact of one technique, microbial metagenomics, the study of sequencing DNA fragments from multiple microbial genomes in an assemblage of organisms, on the field of microbial ecology. We take a clear exploration of the reasons for looking at communities of microorganisms, and the potential for new discoveries of ecological importance, such as ubiquitous species distribution, and environmental community structuring factors. We explore the importance of community-driven research initiatives to help tackle the immensity of global microbial dynamics, and discuss the financial and practical implications of data generation and bioinformatics. Finally we highlight the role of microbial ecosystem modeling in helping to synthesize theories across domains. Microbial ecology has been, and will continue to be advanced through the application of careful experimental design and sophisticated technology. Metagenomics has a continuing role to play in this discovery, and as researchers grow ask more complex questions, this form of data generation will continue to help to answer those questions read more ...