A Return to Microbial Genomes in the Metagenome Age*Corresponding Author: Eric Altermann, Rumen Microbiology Team, AgResearch Limited, Grasslands Research Centre, Tennent Drive, Private Bag 11008, 4442 Palmerston North, New Zealand, Tel: +64 6 351 8100, Email: [email protected]
Received Date: Oct 24, 2012 / Accepted Date: Oct 26, 2012 / Published Date: Oct 29, 2012
Citation: Altermann E (2012) A Return to Microbial Genomes in the Metagenome Age. J Microbial Biochem Technol 4:xiii-xiv.DOI: 10.4172/1948-5948.1000e111
Copyright: © 2012 . This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Metagenomics has broadened significantly in microbial ecosystems, phylogenetic diversity and genetic complexity. In the course of only a few years microbial genomics has seen a dramatic rise from the 1.8 Megabase pair (Mbp) genome of the first free-living organism sequenced (Haemophilus influenzae Rd in 1995 ) to (meta) genome programmes now generating more than a Terabase pair of sequence data each. These advances have been made possible by increasingly more powerful sequencing technologies. Fluorescent slab-gel electrophoresis methods were replaced by capillary-based systems, which brought a significant increase in the level of throughput and automation. A step change came with the introduction of “sequencing by synthesis”. This technology was commercialised as ‘pyrosequencing’, notably by 454 Life Sciences. While initially providing only shorter read lengths of 100-200 nucleotides (nt), and having a lower base call quality and problems with homopolymeric stretches of nucleotides, it also delivered a leap in sequencing capacity (up to 400 Mbp per run) from capillary Sanger-based sequencing technologies. Since then a number of other next-generation sequencing platforms have been commercialised (such as Illumina, SOLID, Ion Torrent), each increasing the amount of sequence information gained per run (Illumina HiSeq2500 currently delivers up to 600 Gbp per run). While single molecule real time (SMRT) sequencing is still in its infancy, it is likely to be the “next big thing” and prototypes (mainly from Pacific Biosciences) are currently being trialled.