Unlocking the potential of metagenomics through replicated experimental design

Rob Knight, Janet Jansson, Dawn Field, Noah Fierer, Narayan Desai, Jed A. Fuhrman, Phil Hugenholtz, Daniel Van Der Lelie, Folker Meyer, Rick Stevens, Mark J. Bailey, Jeffrey I. Gordon, George A. Kowalchuk, Jack A. Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


Metagenomics holds enormous promise for discovering novel enzymes and organisms that are biomarkers or drivers of processes relevant to disease, industry and the environment. In the past two years, we have seen a paradigm shift in metagenomics to the application of cross-sectional and longitudinal studies enabled by advances in DNA sequencing and high-performance computing. These technologies now make it possible to broadly assess microbial diversity and function, allowing systematic investigation of the largely unexplored frontier of microbial life. To achieve this aim, the global scientific community must collaborate and agree upon common objectives and data standards to enable comparative research across the Earth's microbiome. Improvements in comparability of data will facilitate the study of biotechnologically relevant processes, such as bioprospecting for new glycoside hydrolases or identifying novel energy sources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-520
Number of pages8
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


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