Microbial communities are significant contributors to material and energy flows in the ocean. Despite having a global abundance of 1030 cells, little is known about their genetic diversity.
Metagenomics is a culture-independent approach that allows scientists to analyze large quantities of genetic information from microorganisms in environmental samples.
Obtaining genetic information through metagenomics will further our understanding of the indigenous organisms that inhabit the OMZ.
The metagenomic study of microbial populations that live in the OMZ involves the following steps:
1. The collection of a sample from a particular depth in the water column and the extraction of its genomic DNA.
2. The generation of separate and large DNA fragments (40-300 kb) providing information of a single organism through cloning and sequencing.
3. The clones are then screened for a specific organism or function, e.g., via vector end sequencing.
4. The complete sequencing of the screened clones.
5. The analysis of the genomic sequences and the identification and mapping of genes.