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Metagenomics is the study of genetic material present in environmental samples, consisting of genetic information from multiple species. By analysing specific highly variable regions of a genome, it is possible to determine the species present.

Variation within hypervariable regions of an organism’s genetic code allows for accurate taxonomic classification of species within a sample.

All bacteria and archaea contain the 16S ribosomal RNA gene, making it a useful tool for a number of microbial applications.

Due to the variability of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene (containing nine hypervariable regions interspersed with conserved regions), sequencing of only one hypervariable region is sufficient for taxonomic identification.

The 4th hypervariable region (V4) is the most common selection for metagenomic analysis; however, V3V4 sequencing is also available should this be more appropriate for a project.

Metagenomic analysis using next generation sequencing provides information on the species present and the quantity of a species within a sample. This extra information provides the ability to perform studies looking at changes in diversity between differing sites or over a time period.

Utilising the Illumina MiSeq, we are able to multiplex hundreds of samples per lane, providing a cost-effective solution for large diversity projects.

For eukaryotic identification, sequencing of the 18SV9 region is routinely performed; however, sequencing of other regions is also offered.

Metagenomics on the Illumina MiSeq

The Illumina MiSeq platform offers rapid turnaround times, longer read lengths up 2 x 300bp and multiplexing of hundreds of samples per run.

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