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Metagenomics white paper

White paper

Date: 25th March 2020

The genomic analysis of multiple organisms obtained from a single sample, commonly referred to as “metagenomics”, allows great insight into the genetic makeup of microbial communities. Traditionally, microorganisms have been studied through the culturing of individual species or strains using artificial culture media; however, it has been estimated that less than 2% of bacteria can be cultured in the laboratory. For bacteriophages alone, it has been calculated that there are in the order of 100 million undiscovered types. As such, we are currently only scratching the surface of understanding the genetic diversity of microorganisms in the environment. However, a number of challenges remain particularly for time-critical or remote sampling applications, such as outbreak investigations. In this review, we will explore the challenges of metagenomics in environmental and clinical research, with real-world examples of how they are being addressed through the use of nanopore sequencing technology.

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