Identifying microbial diversity in the natural environment: a molecular phylogenetic approach

Trends Biotechnol. 1996 Jun;14(6):190-7. doi: 10.1016/0167-7799(96)10025-1.


Our knowledge of microbial biodiversity has been severely limited by relying on microorganisms that have been cultured; these represent only a tiny fraction of the microbial diversity in the environment. Recently, however, recombinant DNA and molecular phylogenetic techniques have provided methods for characterizing natural microbial communities without the need to cultivate organisms. These techniques have allowed a glimpse of the complexity of microbial communities and the huge, largely untapped, biotechnological resource that they represent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology / trends*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Molecular Biology
  • Phylogeny*