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Bacterial genome study on the River Cam

Climate change, rising urbanisation and agricultural intensification lead to global depletions of safe drinking water resources, and consequently reinforce the need for comprehensive monitoring frameworks.

 

A new exciting bacterial genome study on the River Cam has just been published in the journal eLife (“Freshwater monitoring by nanopore sequencing” by Urban, Holzer et al., https://elifesciences.org/articles/61504) The study was a collaboration of many University of Cambridge departments along with the  European Bioinformatics Institute, Wellcome Genome Campus.

In a case study, published 19 January in the journal eLife, an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Cambridge now exemplifies uses of the world’s smallest, smartphone-sized DNA sequencing device (MinIONTM, Oxford Nanopore Technologies) to monitor hundreds of different bacteria in a river ecosystem.

From the beginning, this project was done and led in an open way, involving citizen science workshops, pub talks and lots of student initiative (www.puntseq.co.uk). Beyond the local findings regarding potentially nasty bugs in the Cam, The article provides many guidelines on cheap and simple water quality monitoring using genetics. Further details of the study https://www.infectiousdisease.cam.ac.uk/news/freshwaterhealthmonitoring