Many of the biogeochemical reactions that occur in marine sediments are catalyzed by the complex communities of bacteria and archaea living there. Linking specific microorganisms to specific chemical transformations has been a challenge for microbiologists, because microorganisms generally lack morphological detail and are therefore much more difficult to identify than macroorganisms. Identification has traditionally required pure-culture isolation, followed by often time-consuming chemotaxonomic characterization. In contrast to their narrow range of morphologies, microorganisms are genetically very diverse. This genetic diversity has recently been exploited for the in situ identification of individual microbial cells, and even of their biochemical activities. This paper is intended to give scientists of neighboring disciplines some insight into how nucleic acidbased tools such as cloning, sequencing and hybridization are used by microbiologists to analyze the diversity, structure and function of microbial communities.
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- Nucleic Acid-Based Techniques for Analyzing the Diversity, Structure, and Function of Microbial Communities in Marine Waters and Sediments
B. J. MacGregor
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg