Experts in DNA Metabarcoding

By amplifying, sequencing, and analysing target genomic regions DNA metabarcoding infers the species composition of an environmental sample. It differs from DNA barcoding in the use of high-throughput sequencing technologies. This technique allows for DNA sequencing of complex samples when specimen sorting is not possible. DNA metabarcoding can be used even when DNA is degraded. Therefore, it is possible to analyse species diversity in samples such as soil, faeces, or sediments.

It is an extremely useful method in a variety of fields

With DNA metabarcoding we can identify organisms from complex samples down to various taxonomic levels, and compare the species composition among samples. This is what makes DNA metabarcoding a very powerful tool. There is an increasing demand for this technology in a variety of fields. In:

  • Microbial Ecology, microbial communities from several types of samples (water, soil, air...) can be characterised.
  • Food Safety, plants, fungi, and animal species present in food products can be identified.
  • Aerobiology, organisms present in air samples, such as bacteria, fungal spores, and pollen can be identified.
  • Feeding Ecology, where prey species can be identified by analysing DNA from the predators' faeces.
  • Soil Biology, organisms (bacteria, fungi, small animals...) present in soil samples can be identified.
  • Ecosystem Monitoring, bioindicator species present in several types of samples can be quickly screened.
  • Marine and Freshwater Biology, microalgae and larvae present in water samples can be identified.

How we work

  • In Step 1 we isolate DNA from different materials such as soil, water, food products, faeces, organic residues, pollen, etc.
  • In Step 2 we construct DNA metabarcoding libraries for the target taxonomic group(s) -bacteria, fungi, plants, protists, and/or metazoans-.
  • In Step 3 we sequence the DNA metabarcoding libraries using the Illumina MiSeq technology.
  • In Step 4 our bioinformaticians analyse the data obtained in the previous step. Our standard bioinformatic pipeline includes demultiplexing and quality filtering, chimera removal, taxon assignment, read count per taxon, and the generation of rarefaction curves.

Deliverables include your results, the raw data generated (which will be delivered through our server), and a summary of the methods followed.

Studying the bacterial communities associated to different types of rocks

Spanish researchers wanted to characterise and compare the species composition of bacterial communities associated to different types of rocks using next-generation sequencing technologies. Rock samples were shipped to AllGenetics, where our technical staff extracted DNA and constructed the 16S rDNA libraries. After purification, libraries were pooled and sequenced in the Illumina MiSeq platform. The millions of reads obtained were processed using a specific DNA metabarcoding pipeline. The pipeline included denoising and clustering of the reads into operational taxonomic units. A comprehensive scientific report was delivered to the clients, along with the raw data obtained. The report included graphs which summarised the differences in diversity metrics within and between the different samples. With these results, the researches were then able to look for overall biodiversity differences in the samples, to compare taxonomic profiles for each sample type and, eventually, to explore the affinities of microbial communities towards different types of rocks.