Research highlights: enhancing whole genome amplification using compartmentalization
The ability to break up a larger liquid volume into an array of smaller confined volumes that do not chemically communicate is a key enabling technology driving microfluidic innovations. We highlight recent work using drop-based confinement to improve on whole genome amplification, reducing amplification bias and contaminant amplification by bringing reactions to saturation within each confined drop. We also highlight a complementary technique to target whole genome amplification to a subset of nucleic acids within a sample by combining drop-based PCR with sorting and downstream sequencing. These new approaches have the potential to enhance our ability to categorize the diversity of microorganisms (especially difficult to culture species) that contribute to complex microbial communities, and in particular assemble the individual genomes of the species involved in biologically and environmentally important microbiomes.