Metagenome Sequencing Services

Throughout the decades and eras of ecological discovery, scientists have continued to be baffled at the biodiversity of the planet Earth. Research is continually discovering new organisms and attempting to solve the mystery of how they interact with each other and the environment. Microorganisms are abundant on every inch of the planet’s surface, and until the emergence of metagenomics, it was challenging to understand these intricate microbial organisms and communities. 

Today, metagenomics gives science an in-depth look at the microbes flourishing in the oceans, on land, and in the body, as well as how these microbes interact with hosts. Metagenomics is the study of genetic material extracted from environmental samples. Let’s take a look at how this study came about, how it looks in-action here at Psomagen, and how this highly sophisticated method of study benefits modern society.

Our Metagenomic Sequencing Services

a researcher holding a test tube

Metagenomic sequencing is one method that we use, and it follows a specialized workflow that involves several steps; including genetic extraction, preparation, amplicon or shotgun sequencing, assembly, annotation, and metagenomic data analysis. We provide our clients with the opportunity to have their genome sequenced by one of two methods, which are described below.

Amplicon Metagenomic Sequencing

The amplicon method of sequencing enables a geneticist to identify microorganism diversity in a specific environment. It takes a targeted approach to variation analysis based on genomic regions, using amplicons to identify variant traits and characteristics. Amplicon sequencing is a great way to find abnormal mutations in complex specimens. This method is favored for being fast and affordable. Below are some of the types of amplicons used:

  • 16S rDNA sequencing
  • Full-length 16S rRNA sequencing
  • 18S rDNA/ITS sequencing

Shotgun Metagenomic Sequencing

Shotgun metagenomic sequencing is an effective way to get a representative mixed sample of all the genes of every organism present in the sample. It makes it easier to evaluate the diversity among microbes and to discover species diversity. In shotgun metagenomic sequencing, DNA is put through a purification process and randomly shaved down into smaller fragments. Then, it is sequenced and analyzed to extract data about the presence of organisms and the metabolic processes that are occurring and possible within the community represented by the sample.

Metagenomic Data Analysis Methods

Different types of information can be extracted from metagenomic data. For example, by using amplicon-derived data, a researcher can determine which organisms the sample sequences have come from. The two main methods of analysis, available at Psomagen, and their subtypes are listed below:

  • Basic analysis
    • Gene prediction and annotation
    • Probiotics analysis
    • Assembly
    • Taxonomy analysis
    • Community diversity analysis (OTU)
  • Advanced analysis
    • Phylogenic tree
    • PCA biplot
    • Hierarchical taxonomy graph
    • Heat map

How Did Metagenomics Come About?

Early metagenomic research proposed that many environments have groups of microorganisms that can’t be cultured or sequenced. There was abundant evidence to suggest that most organisms on Earth are comprised of these uncultured microorganisms. Thus, researchers began to conduct direct genetic analyses of the genomes of environmental samples. 

They began cloning DNA from the environment and later screened it to discover how the genes expressed themselves functionally. Eventually, metagenomic next-generation sequencing (NGS) was applied to these microorganisms, and this allowed them to study these complex species without needing to isolate or cultivate a species within the confines of a laboratory.

Why Do Metagenomics Matter?

Metagenomic methods are helping to further reduce the time and money needed to sequence DNA. They allow a small and simple lab to sequence the whole genome of an environmental species. Metagenomics also offers new information about the diversity of the environments of the world and reveals the biological diversity of the microbes of the earth. This information, which was previously unknown, provides us with a new way to view the world and gives us an entirely new understanding of the biosphere.

collecting water sample into a tube

The Future of Metagenomics

The future of this next-generation sequencing technique is bright and promises to provide valuable insight into evolution, microbial communities, and functions of our ecosystem. 

Contact us today to learn more about the metagenomic services we offer.

Inquire About Our Metagenome Sequencing Services