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Sequence of the nucleic acid associated with a community of organisms rather than that associated with specific, individual organisms.
The major advantage of metagenomics is that prior culturing of microorganisms is not required and, in fact, can result in a bias in what sequence is obtained. The major disadvantage of metagenomic analyses is that any and all phenotypic information of the organisms involved, other than membership in the community being analyzed, must be inferred. Furthermore, it can be difficult to identity what organism a given sequence comes from, unless that member of the community has previously been isolated and sequenced.
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