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Biotechnology firm Sequentia Biotech has created cloud software that can manage and analyze metagenomic data for the microbiome in different settings from the human body, animals, organic waste, agriculture and the environment. The tool, which is called Gaia, generates data using next-generation sequencing technology (NGS) and automatically integrates all levels of taxonomical and functional classification (from kingdom to subspecies) in just 12 hours.

The online software allows users to run comparative analyses of samples in real time, known as comparative metagenomics, making them much faster, wider reaching and more efficient. Unlike the majority of bioinformatics systems currently available, it works at any organism level (eukaryote, prokaryote or virus).

Co-founder and CEO of the company Walter Sanseverino explains that the tool analyzes metagenomic data from environmental samples. “It's a huge advantage, as traditional methods –based on isolating and culturing microorganisms in vitro– ‘lose’ an estimated 90-99% of microbes in the sample,” says Sanseverino.

The platform is available as SaaS (Software as a Service – pay per use) and doesn't have to be installed on a server, making terminals run faster. The tool is intuitive and designed to be used by any researcher, even if they are not an expert in bioinformatics. It cuts costs for servers, licenses and training.

Sequentia Biotech is targeting metagenomics, which is the analysis of the DNA of various microorganisms found in the same habitat without the need to isolate them or do in vitro cultures, and aims to address one of the great challenges of bioinformatics in this field: analyzing the enormous amounts of data resulting from the mixed genomes of hundreds of microorganisms found in a single sample. 

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