Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed an automated approach for identifying and sequencing single bacterial cells from a complex environmental sample. The team tested their method on a biofilm sample from a hospital sink drain in order to try and characterize the pathogens present.

"There's a huge problem with these so-called superbugs," Roger Lasken, director of single-cell genomics at JCVI, told In Sequence. "We want to sequence the genomes of those bacteria … but only a small minority of the bacteria can be cultured," he said.

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