Genetic and genomic analysis of nucleic acids from environmental samples has helped transform our perception of the subsurface as a major reservoir of microbial novelty. Many of the microbial taxa living in the subsurface are under-represented in culture-dependent investigations.
The ability to sequence DNA outside of the laboratory setting has enabled novel research questions to be addressed in the field in diverse areas, ranging from environmental microbiology to viral epidemics.
Whole genome sequencing on next-generation instruments provides an unbiased way to identify the organisms present in complex metagenomic samples. However, the time-to-result can be protracted because of fixed-time sequencing runs and cumbersome bioinformatics workflows.
Background: The miniaturised and portable DNA sequencer MinION has been released to the scientific community within the framework of an early access programme to evaluate its application for a wide variety of genetic approaches.