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Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Volume 19, 2021, Pages 1497-1511

Nanopore sequencing and its application to the study of microbial communities

Laura Ciuffredaa, Héctor Rodríguez-Péreza, Carlos Floresa,b,c,d

Research Unit, Hospital Universitario N.S. de Candelaria, Universidad de La Laguna, 38010 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.

Abstract

Since its introduction, nanopore sequencing has enhanced our ability to study complex microbial samples through the possibility to sequence long reads in real time using inexpensive and portable technologies. The use of long reads has allowed to address several previously unsolved issues in the field, such as the resolution of complex genomic structures, and facilitated the access to metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs). Furthermore, the low cost and portability of platforms together with the development of rapid protocols and analysis pipelines have featured nanopore technology as an attractive and ever-growing tool for real-time in-field sequencing for environmental microbial analysis. This review provides an up-to-date summary of the experimental protocols and bioinformatic tools for the study of microbial communities using nanopore sequencing, highlighting the most important and recent research in the field with a major focus on infectious diseases. An overview of the main approaches including targeted and shotgun approaches, metatranscriptomics, epigenomics, and epitranscriptomics is provided, together with an outlook to the major challenges and perspectives over the use of this technology for microbial studies.

Keywords: Nanopore sequencing, Targeted sequencing, Metagenomics, Metatranscriptomics, Bioinformatics.

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