16S/18S/ITS gene sequencing methods are commonly used for identification, classification and quantitation of microbes within complex biological mixture such as environmental samples (ex marine water) and gut samples (ex human gut microbiome). These genes have a high degree of variation even between closely related species.
Conveniently, the these genes consists of both conserved and hyper-variable regions. Universal PCR primers can be designed to target the conserved regions of the genes making it possible to amplify the gene in a wide range of different microorganisms from a single sample. While the conserved region makes universal amplification possible, sequencing the variable regions allows discrimination between specific different microorganisms such as bacteria (16S), fungi (18S, ITS), and archaea (ITS).
16S/18S/ITS Sequencing Applications
- Environmental Samples (ex soil, water)
- Gut Microbiome
- Sterility Monitoring / Contamination Investigation
- Food Quality Assurance
- Clinical Samples
16S/18S/ITS Sequencing Technical Advantages
- Identification efficiency – compared to traditional identification methods such as cloning and/or culturing, 16S/18S/ITS sequencing of microbiota is a faster and more accurate method.
- Dual-zone detection – the flexibility to target one or more variable regions, enables longer sequence reads and can result in more accurate analysis of colonies.
- Lower cost – much lower requirement of sequencing depth compared to metagenomic sequencing.
- Higher sensitivity – extremely low abundance bacteria can be identified with this method.