Microbes are the most abundant, most diverse, most ancient, and fastest evolving group of organisms on earth. Metagenomics is the study of environmental DNA. The key steps are sample site selection, filtration, DNA extraction, and then sequence- or function-based analysis.

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  • Review:
  • Watch:
    • Videos from Dr. Brian Gibbens at the University of Minnesota:

The metagenomics videos from Dr. Gibbens describe the processes of extracting and analyzing the DNA.

Dr. Gibbens’ instructional video series does not include instructions on how to select an environmental sample site.

A good example of soil sampling and how the metagenomic techniques is going to be used to analyze all the organisms in soil samples. Watch this video from Biology Week, 2012 Chris Packman discusses sampling his garden:

Chris Packham’s soil metagenomics: Biology Week 2012

A review of the growth and development of the field of metagenomics and how it is being used to uncover microorganisms in a wide variety of environments. Published on Nov 24, 2014:


Next, post to the discussion board:

  • You are to select a problem of interest to your community that you believe can be solved using metagenomics. In order to complete your submission:
    • First, identify a location near where you live or work where bacterial samples can be collected from the environment.
    • Explain why you selected the particular location for drawing the sample and describe the role that metagenomics will play in understanding the problem.
    • Explain why you think this question is important to your local community.



Once you have posted your own discussion response, you are required to comment on the posts of at least two of your classmates. You can agree or disagree with their posts, but you must explain why you have chosen to do so. Remember, if you provide a quotation from a source (i.e., your textbook or the Internet), you must include the correct citation and reference. Also, be sure to read the feedback on your own major postings and reply to it throughout the module.

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