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Review article2008Peer reviewed

The metagenomics of disease-suppressive soils - experiences from the METACONTROL project

van Elsas, Jan Dirk; Costal, Rodrigo; Jansson, Janet; Sjoling, Sara; Bailey, Mark; Nalin, Renaud; Vogel, Timothy M.; van Overbeek, Leo


Soil teems with microbial genetic information that can be exploited for biotechnological innovation. Because only a fraction of the soil microbiota is cultivable, our ability to unlock this genetic complement has been hampered. Recently developed molecular tools, which make it possible to utilize genomic DNA from soil, can bypass cultivation and provide information on the collective soil metagenome with the aim to explore genes that encode functions of key interest to biotechnology. The metagenome of disease-suppressive soils is of particular interest given the expected prevalence of antibiotic biosynthetic clusters. However, owing to the complexity of soil microbial communities, deciphering this key genetic information is challenging. Here, we examine crucial issues and challenges that so far have hindered the metagenomic exploration of soil by drawing on experience from a trans-European project on disease-suppressive soils denoted METACONTROL.

Published in

Trends in Biotechnology
2008, Volume: 26, number: 11, pages: 591-601

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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