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Benefit of Metagenomics

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Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms and has numerous applications in medicine, virulogy, immunology and more since the implementation of it in the lat 16th century. There are many microorganisms in the world habituating all kinds of conditions and locations, and the primary goal of microbiology to not only to identify but also characterize these populations. In the past this has been carried out by direct clonal culturing given the ease with which discoveries could be made about cultured organisms. This subsequently established a precedence for culture dependent isolations in the lab (1). However, as more evidence arose suggesting that this method only captures a small breadth of the microbial community, a new methodology has started to gain momentum. Instead of solely focusing on identifying lab-cultured microorganisms individually through phenotypic analysis of biochemical and physiological test results, samples from environments are being evaluated en masse and then identified successfully using 16S RNA sequence and phylogentic analysis (2). This new method of analysis presents to the world of microbiology not only vast room for expansion, but room for even greater medical and scientific advancements as well.
The need for new procedures was an evident one given the quick accumulation of evidence and the rising concern for the presence of what are being called unculturable microorganisms (any organisms that cannot be cultivated in a lab). Consider what has been dubbed 'the great plate anomaly,' in which when direct counts are used to quantify active cells, the viable plate counts tend to significantly differ from direct microscopic counts. This anomaly has been attributed to the fact that plates select for certai...

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