A round trip to the desert: in situ nanopore sequencing informs targeted bioprospecting
About Adriel Latorre-Pérez
Adriel Latorre-Pérez is a biotechnologist at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and a bioinformatician at the University of Valencia, with a special interest in third generation sequencing and metagenomics. Adriel is also a Ph.D. student at Darwin Bioprospecting Excellence, where he has been working with nanopore data since 2017. His main research objectives are to evaluate the suitability of Oxford Nanopore technology for different metagenomic approaches, and to apply this technology for studying environments of industrial or biotechnological interest, such as the Tabernas Desert.
Bioprospecting expeditions are often carried out in remote locations in order to access previously unexplored samples, which are screened upon arrival at the laboratory. This process prevents further exploitation of the most promising samples, since scientists are not always able to return to the sampling site. Our study is a proof of concept of the use of in situ nanopore sequencing for characterizing samples during a bioprospecting expedition. Specifically, we tested this technology in a sampling journey to the Tabernas Desert (Almería, Spain), the only European desert. Overall, this work demonstrates that microbiome-based sampling is feasible thanks to nanopore sequencing.