BackgroundAdvances in DNA sequencing technologies have transformed our capacity to perform life science research, decipher the dynamics of complex soil microbial communities and exploit them for plant disease management. However, soil is a complex conglomerate, which makes functional metagenomics studies very challenging.
ResultsMetagenomes were assembled by long-read (PacBio, PB), short-read (Illumina, IL), and mixture of PB and IL (PI) sequencing of soil DNA samples were compared. Ortholog analyses and functional annotation revealed that the PI approach significantly increased the contig length of the metagenomic sequences compared to IL and enlarged the gene pool compared to PB. The PI approach also offered comparable or higher species abundance than either PB or IL alone, and showed significant advantages for studying natural product biosynthetic genes in the soil microbiomes.
ConclusionOur results provide an effective strategy for combining long and short-read DNA sequencing data to explore and distill the maximum information out of soil metagenomics.