Bioprospecting in the Genomic Age
The genomic revolution promises great advances in the search for useful biocatalysts. Function-based metagenomic approaches have identified several enzymes with properties that make them useful candidates for a variety of bioprocesses. As DNA sequencing costs continue to decline, the volume of genomic data, along with their corresponding predicted protein sequences, will continue to increase dramatically, necessitating new approaches to leverage this information for gene-based bioprospecting efforts. Additionally, as new functions are discovered and correlated with this sequence information, the knowledge of the often complex relationship between a protein's sequence and function will improve. This in turn will lead to better gene-based bioprospecting approaches and facilitate the tailoring of desired properties through protein engineering projects. In this chapter, we discuss a number of recent advances in bioprospecting within the context of the genomic age.