What is metagenomics? Metagenomics is the study of microbes in the natural environment, like rivers, lakes, land, etc. The process of researching this field involves looking at all the different genetic material of a whole organism (rather than focusing on a gene). There are two types of this technology used for this study, them being sequence-based and function base. The sequence is used with sequencing and analysis of DNA samples of the environment. The function includes isolating the DNA from microbial communities that involve the cloning of DNA. The samples then become information that can be turned into data analysis for all the genes in the organism.
Since metagenomics is a more recent study it has had many new quick breakthroughs. It has become one of the fast advancing fields of biology. The greatest advancement of them all is the ability to examine all the bacteria in water. For example, let’s say you go to a pond and take a test tube and fill it with the pond water, there are probably thousands of types of bacteria in the dirty pond water so how are you going to analyze or even sequence their genes? Well, that’s why you use metagenomics. You can take a test tube you put it in a machine and take a closer look at the types of bacteria in the pond. This technique is incredibly important because it can be used to determine the bacteria in drinking water. Let’s say you are at the pond and you accidentally swallow some of the water, and in that water were some harmful bacteria. For the doctors to know what kind of bacteria you swallowed they use metagenomics; you can swallow another type of bacteria and get sick but if you swallow a strong one you could even die. So, metagenomics helps to know what kind of bacteria are out there and how can we control them so determining the bacteria in the water gives you the ability to survive it.
Metagenomics has been responsible for so many different amazing discoveries. The best use of metagenomics is the ability to learn more about the organisms that we didn’t know about before. It answers the questions of what is there and what are they doing there. Examples of places where they might take samples on a human are skin, mouth, and other organs to try to understand human diseases. They also take samples from the environment around us such water samples to learn what’s in the water or soil to find out what’s in that environment. One sample can contain more than 10 000 species. Determining bacteria in the soil and water we drink and eat as well as the diseases in people’s bodies has the potential to save lives. Which is what makes sampling and testing with metagenomics so crucial for us and our environment.
Metagenomics is a relatively newer field of study it’s continuously growing with the ability to collect samples from the environment most scient are given the ability to have new discoveries. A huge way metagenomics is helping our future is with its ability to find diseases carried in humans and other animals. Metagenomics gives the chance to learn more about how the disease works which will help stop the spread and impact of many. It gives more information on harmful diseases and bacteria, which over time should have a large positive impact. Another example of how metagenomics can help the future is with our studying of Mars. Metagenomics can help us to find extraterrestrials on Mars by taking a sample from Mars and seeing what they can find from it. Metagenomics is also making its way into the future through its ability to clean harmful waste in soil and as water. They are hoping to discover more enzymes and antibodies in the future by investigating the microbes in the soil. There are many ways that metagenomics is changing and improving to better our future and give us more knowledge of the world around us.
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