Metagenomics provides a means of assessing the total genetic pool of all the microbes in a particular environment, in a culture-independent manner. It has revealed unprecedented diversity in microbial community composition, which is further reflected in the encoded functional diversity of the genomes, a large proportion of which consists of novel genes. Herein, we review both sequence-based and functional metagenomic methods to uncover novel genes and outline some of the associated problems of each type of approach, as well as potential solutions. Furthermore, we discuss the potential for metagenomic biotherapeutic discovery, with a particular focus on the human gut microbiome and finally, we outline how the discovery of novel genes may be used to create bioengineered probiotics.
University College Cork ->