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Long reads from Nanopore sequencing as a tool for animal microbiome studies


Date: 23rd December 2019 | Source: BioRxiv

Authors: Beatriz Delgado, Magdalena Serrano, Carmen González, Alex Bach, Oscar González-Recio.

In the era of bioinformatics and metagenomics, the study of the ruminal microbiome has gained considerable relevance in the field of animal breeding, since the composition of the rumen microbiota significantly impacts production and the environment. Illumina sequencing is considered the gold standard for the analysis of microbiomes, but it is limited by obtaining only short DNA sequences to analyze. As an alternative, Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) has developed a new sequencing technique based on nanopores that can be carried out in the MinION, a portable device with a low initial cost which long DNA readings can be obtained with.

The aim of this study was to compare the performance of both types of sequencing (short-read and nanopore long-read sequencing) applied to samples of ruminal content using a similar pipeline.

The ONT sequencing provided similar results to the Illumina sequencing, although it was able to classify a greater number of readings at the species level, possibly due to the increase in the read size. The results also suggest that, due to the size of the reads, it would be possible to obtain the same amount of information in a smaller number of hours. However, detection of archaeal and eukaryotic species is still difficult to accomplish due to their low abundance in the rumen compared to bacteria, suggesting different pipelines and strategies are needed to obtain a whole representation of the less abundant species in the rumen microbiota.

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