Microfluidic-based mini-metagenomics enables discovery of novel microbial lineages from complex environmental samples
Yu, F.B., Blainey, P.C., Schulz, F. et al.
Metagenomics and single-cell genomics have enabled genome discovery from unknown branches of life. However, extracting novel genomes from complex mixtures of metagenomic data can still be challenging and represents an ill-posed problem which is generally approached with ad hoc methods. Here we present a microfluidic-based mini-metagenomic method which offers a statistically rigorous approach to extract novel microbial genomes while preserving single-cell resolution. We used this approach to analyze two hot spring samples from Yellowstone National Park and extracted 29 new genomes, including three deeply branching lineages. The single-cell resolution enabled accurate quantification of genome function and abundance, down to 1% in relative abundance. Our analyses of genome level SNP distributions also revealed low to moderate environmental selection. The scale, resolution, and statistical power of microfluidic-based mini-metagenomics make it a powerful tool to dissect the genomic structure of microbial communities while effectively preserving the fundamental unit of biology, the single cell.
Yu, F.B., Blainey, P.C., Schulz, F. et al. "Microfluidic-based mini-metagenomics enables discovery of novel microbial lineages from complex environmental samples" eLife (2017): e26580