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Posted by Roy81 on 24 Feb 2010 at 16:48 GMT

Microorganisms constitute two third of the Earth's biological diversity. As many as 99% of the microorganisms present in certain environments cannot be cultured by standard techniques. Culture-independent methods are required to understand the genetic diversity, population structure and ecological roles of the majority of organisms. Metagenomics is the genomic analysis of microorganisms by direct extraction and cloning of DNA from their natural environment. Protocols have been developed to capture unexplored microbial diversity to overcome the existing barriers in estimation of diversity. New screening <a href="">essays</a> methods have been designed to select specific functional genes within metagenomic libraries to detect novel biocatalysts as well as bioactive molecules applicable to mankind. To study the complete gene or operon clusters, various vectors including cosmid, fosmid or bacterial artificial chromosomes are being developed. Bioinformatics tools and databases have added much to the study of microbial diversity. This review describes the various methodologies and tools developed to understand the biology of uncultured microbes including bacteria, archaea and viruses through metagenomic analysis.

No competing interests declared.