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Nature contains a wealth of genes, enzymes, metabolites and other biomolecules that might be interesting for new applications. They might be useful, for example, as food ingredients, as enzymes in detergents, as drugs or antibiotics or as biofuel. Such unknown genes and biomolecules can be discovered by analysing the genomes of a large number of samples containing microbial communities, like soil samples from all over the world.
High quality technologies are available for such genomics analysis. With high-throughput equipment large numbers of samples can be screened and analysed. By extracting DNA efficiently from the most difficult samples, allows you to perform gene discovery and discover new lead compounds in the most exotic materials.
Whole genome sequencing delivers a comprehensive view of the entire genome and is a good starting point when you have found a new type of microorganism. By selecting and combining different sequencing technologies it is possible to produce high-quality microbial genomes. Specific bioinformatics solutions are developed for the assembly and annotation of the genomes, with possibilities to search for specific genes, enzymes and proteins. Depending on your specific research question, a combination of microbiological, sequencing and bioinformatics technologies should give you the answers that you are looking for in gene discovery.
For the discovery of newly applicable genes and biomolecules, the function of the genes present within a genome must be determined. This can be done by rational classification of the genes based on a curated database. We recommend two different databases for this: the Kyoto Encyclopaedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and the database of Clusters of Orthologous Groups of proteins (COG). Unlike public databases, these databases are curated, which means that the database content is managed and validated by experts.
The screening of large numbers of samples, like soil samples, for the presence of novel genes and biomolecules is a time-consuming and laborious job. By analysing the genome or metagenome of your samples with high-throughput equipment, this now is possible within weeks.