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Measuring Microbe Metabolism with Metagenomics

In PNAS, Mark Gerstein and his colleagues describe a new method to quantify microbial metabolic pathways in metagenomics samples. Using data from the Global Ocean Survey, the researchers developed a multivariate approach to associate metabolic pathway usage to differences in the environment. They identified pathways used in energy conversion, amino acid metabolism, cofactor synthesis, and more. "Our study provides an analytical framework for uncovering ways, in which microbes adapt to (and perhaps even) how they change their environment," the authors write.