Recent research suggests a close relationship between the composition of the human microbiome and the occurrence of a variety of diseases, as well as the response towards pharmaceutical drugs. This has been particularly shown for the gut microbiome but according to recent findings it can also be extended to other body sites (e.g. skin, oral, nasal). Furthermore, microorganisms are involved in many biochemical reactions in the environment and thus represent important constituents of environmental ecosystems. To better understand human and environmental microbiomes, it is of great importance to accurately identify all microbial species present in a sample and link this information to their set of functional genes.
Metagenomic Profiling allows the accurate detection of all microbes (Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi, Protozoa, Viruses) down to the species level and enables the analysis of their functional repertoire. This has been shown using microbial community standards. The detection of the functional repertoire of the microbes is possible because this type of analysis is not based on any marker genes. During Metagenomic Profiling, which is also known as shotgun metagenomics, all DNA fragments are sequenced. Accordingly, functional genes coding for enzymes related to specific metabolic pathways can also be analyzed. Metagenomic Profiling is the best choice if microbiomes need to be thoroughly characterized including accurate identification of microbial species as well as their functional repertoire.
Applications of Metagenomic Profiling are diverse and include:
- Disease monitoring
- Microbial biomarker detection
- Drug development
- Characterization of environmental microbiomes