Skip to main content

BIT 477/577: Metagenomics

We define metagenomics as the use of sequencing-based or molecular biology approaches to discover, explore, and harness the genomic potential of microbial communities in environments. Participants in the BIT 477/577 Metagenomics course have used metagenomics approaches to learn about genetic diversity in numerous environments. They have shared their work on this webpage as part of the course.


  • Participants will be introduced to various methods for studying the complex microbial populations surrounding us, including applications, limitations, and health and legal implications.
  • Participants will apply high-throughput sequencing techniques to mine the genetic diversity of complex populations, such as the community of microbes growing happily in a kitchen sink.
BIT Metagenomics logo with magnifying glass and illustration of three microbes, a worm, a virus, and DNA in NC State colors.


  • Introduction to metagenomics and microbial communities
  • Exploiting genome sequencing for drug and biotechnology product discovery
  • Approaches and limitations of metagenomic surveys
  • Analyzing and visualizing metagenomic data (software and online tools for sequence analysis)

Lab Sessions:

  • Isolation of DNA from student-selected microbial community and preparation (Q/C) for high-throughput sequencing with long and short-read sequencing approaches
  • Assembly and gene annotation of sequence data from the microbial community using cloud computing
  • Use of bioinformatics software for analyses of metagenomic surveys
  • Use of cloud-based pipelines for analyzing 16S and whole genome sequences
  • Use of software for diversity analyses and hypothesis testing