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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Metagenomics: DNA sequencing of environmental samples


While genomics has classically focused on pure, easy-to-obtain samples, such as microbes that grow readily in culture or large animals and plants, these organisms represent but a fraction of the living or once living organisms of interest. Many species are difficult to study in isolation, because they fail to grow in laboratory culture, depend on other organisms for critical processes, or have become extinct. DNA sequence-based methods circumvent these obstacles, as DNA can be directly isolated from live or dead cells in a variety of contexts, and have led to the emergence of a new field referred to as metagenomics.

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