Functional Metagenomics using Stable Isotope Probing: a Review

  • Vo, Nguyen Xuan Que (Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Ewha Womans University) ;
  • Kang, Ho-Jeong (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University) ;
  • Park, Joon-Hong (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Yonsei University)
  • Published : 2007.12.31


The microbial eco-physiology has been the vital key of microbial ecological research. Unfortunately, available methods for direct identity of microorganisms and for the investigation of their activity in complicated community dynamics are limited. In this study, metagenomics was considered as a promising functional genomics tool for improving our understanding of microbial eco-physiology. Its potential applications and challenges were also reviewed. Because of tremendous diversity in microbial populations in environment, sequence analysis for whole metagenomic libraries from environmental samples seems to be unrealistic to most of environmental engineering researchers. When a target function is of interest, however, sequence analysis for whole metagenomic libraries would not be necessary. For this case, nucleic acids of active populations of interest can be selectively gained using another cutting-edge functional genomic tool, SIP (stable isotope probing) technique. If functional genomes isolated by SIP can be transferred into metagenomic library, sequence analysis for such selected functional genomes would be feasible because the reduced size of clone library may become adequate for sequencing analysis. Herein, integration of metagenomics with SIP was suggested as a novel functional genomics approach to study microbial eco-physiology in environment.


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