Professor Alan J. McCarthy
Microbiology Research Group, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, UK
Rapid developments in high throughput DNA sequencing technology now enable us to generate metagenomes directly from environmental samples. Their bioinformatic interrogation provides unbiased information on microbial community structure and gene function, but true novelty is likely to reside in the genes of unknown function that still dominate these datasets.
This lecture charts the progress of molecular microbial ecology from PCR-based analysis of environmental DNA through to the sequencing of metatranscriptomes, but not quite all the way to synthetic biology.