Microbial Ecology. 2013 May 01; 65: 916-9.
During the past decade, there has been an explosion in the quantity of sequencing data that has come out of the studies of microbiomes. This has resulted primarily from new technological developments to interrogating any environment of choice. Additional downstream applications to interrogating these datasets include "omics" studies such as transcriptomics and proteomics, all leading to a deeper understanding of microbial diversity and the multitude of species that remain uncultured. Metagenomic studies are now being performed routinely on a wide range of environments including soils, oceans, air, plants, and various animal species. They are being used to identify novel microbial species, new pathways, and to elucidate the roles of viruses and phage in the environment. In this review, we get a perspective on where the science is headed and what we expect to learn as additional studies unfold.