What is the point of metagenomics?

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Metagenomics is the study of the metagenome. Let me start by defining “genome.” A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA. This will include all of its genes. The metagenome is the collective genome of organisms from an environmental sample. This provides researchers and scientists with information on the diversity and ecology of a particular environment. Within that environment will be various populations of organisms that interact with other populations of organisms to create a vibrant and diverse community of organisms. Metagenomics helps scientists gain a better big-picture view because it is looking at the genetic diversity of an existing ecosystem. This information can be used to better maintain the health of the entire ecosystem or even individual species within that ecosystem. Metagenomics also offers possible advances in infectious disease diagnosis.

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