Metagenomic analysis of the saliva microbiome with merlin

By Barbosa, P.; Dias, O.; Arrais, J.P.; Rocha, M.

Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing

2014

Abstract

In recent years, metagenomics has demonstrated to play an essential role on the study of the microorganisms that live in microbial communities, particularly those who inhabit the human body. Several bioinformatics tools and pipelines have been developed for the analysis of these data, but they usually only address one topic: to identify the taxonomic composition or to address the metabolic functional profile. This work aimed to implement a computational framework able to answer the two questions simultaneously. Merlin, a previously released software aiming at the reconstruction of genome-scale metabolic models for single organisms, was extended to deal with metagenomics data. It has an user-friendly and intuitive interface, being suitable for those with limited bioinformatics skills. The performance of the tool was evaluated with samples from the Human Microbiome Project, particularly from saliva. Overall, the results show the same patterns reported before: while the pathways needed for microbial life remain relatively stable, the community composition varies extensively among individuals.

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