PCR is a technology that makes many copies of a small portion of a microorganism’s genetic information. It can be inexpensive and sensitive, but is extremely limited in how many microorganisms can be identified in a single test – typically less than a dozen in one test. Further, because PCR creates many copies of small genetic pieces, it is heavily biased and cannot be used to assess abundance of microbial populations.
In contrast, NGS (whole genome shotgun sequencing) creates a genetic fingerprint of everything in the sample. It is a much more comprehensive approach, capable of identifying tens of thousands of microorganisms in one sample, only limited by the availability of sequence data. Aperiomics’ approach to NGS reduces as much bias as possible and allows abundance of microbial populations to be assessed.