Molecular ecology

Dave Roberts dmr at nhm.ac.uk
Wed Jan 18 05:34:54 EST 1995


Hello,

I have been discussing an idea for a major symposium (in two or
three years time) spanning the areas of microbial ecology and
systematics of non-isolated organisms.  Essentially this is about
the use of molecular techniques to study an environment by PCRing
rRNA genes, building a library and sequencing clones which are then
positioned on a phylogenetic tree.

The problem is that ecological role cannot be predicted from 
phylogenetic position in many cases.  So, does anyone know how
one might more effectively approach the ecological question of
role?  Possible approaches might be to screen for key enzymes,
perhaps by in situ hybridisation; to amplify a panel of genes
and seek ways of infering information about the population 
structure.  In essence it would be helpful to initiate a
debate about what the ecologist would measure, were culture 
techniques able to recover all organisms, and what the molecular
biologists and physiologists think might be tractable within
the forseeable future.

All opinions will be gratefully received.

Thanks,     Dave



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