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Experts in DNA metabarcoding

Diversity analysis of environmental samples by DNA metabarcoding

DNA metabarcoding infers the species composition of an environmental sample by amplifying, sequencing, and analysing target genomic regions. It differs from DNA barcoding in the use of high-throughput sequencing. This technique allows for DNA sequencing of bulk samples without a prior step of specimen sorting. With DNA metabarcoding we can identify organisms down to various taxonomic levels and compare the taxa composition among samples. DNA metabarcoding can be used even when DNA is degraded. Therefore, it is possible to analyse taxa diversity in samples such as soil, faeces, or sediments.

There is an increasing demand for this technology in a variety of fields, such as:

  • Microbial ecology, for characterising microbial communities from several types of samples (water, soil, air...).
  • Aerobiology, for identifying organisms present in air samples, like bacteria, fungal spores, and pollen.
  • Feeding ecology, where prey species can be identified by analysing DNA from the predators' faeces.
  • Soil biology, for identifying organisms (bacteria, fungi, small animals...) present in soil samples.
  • Ecosystem monitoring, for screening bioindicator species present in several types of samples.
  • Marine and freshwater biology, for identifying microalgae and larvae present in water samples.

What you receive

With our standard service you receive a summary of the methods followed, the raw high-throughput sequencing files, and the results of the bioinformatic analysis including demultiplexing, pre-processing and quality control of the raw data, chimaera removal, taxon assignment, read count per taxon, and the generation of rarefaction curves. If you require additional analyses, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.

What we need

We can start working by using either your environmental samples or already extracted DNA.

If you are sending environmental samples, please make sure that they have been properly preserved for DNA isolation (ethanol, silica gel, frozen, or another suitable preservation method). If required, we can provide sampling kits and sample collection guidelines to ensure that your samples arrive at our lab in optimal conditions.

If your DNA has already been extracted, we ideally require 20 μL of DNA in TE buffer or water at a minimum concentration of 10 ng/μL, and 260/280 and 260/230 absorbance ratios higher than 1.8.

Please note that, depending on the specifics of your project, these requirements may vary. Please contact us for the specific requirements of your project.

How we work

Step 1: we isolate DNA from different materials such as soil, water, faeces, sediments, organic residues, pollen, etc.

Step 2: we prepare DNA metabarcoding libraries for the target taxonomic group(s) -bacteria, fungi, plants, protists, and/or metazoans-. To do so we use universal or in-house-developed primer pairs.

Step 3: we sequence the DNA metabarcoding libraries using the Illumina MiSeq technology.

Step 4: we analyse the data obtained in the previous step to obtain the taxonomic composition of the samples.

For your convenience, we can carry out the entire project or only those steps you require. As a norm, steps 2 and 3 should be ordered jointly. Please contact us for further information and pricing.

Genomics for researchers