Author(s): Hamady M, Lozupone C, Knight R
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Abstract Next-generation sequencing techniques, and PhyloChip, have made simultaneous phylogenetic analyses of hundreds of microbial communities possible. Insight into community structure has been limited by the inability to integrate and visualize such vast datasets. Fast UniFrac overcomes these issues, allowing integration of larger numbers of sequences and samples into a single analysis. Its new array-based implementation offers orders of magnitude improvements over the original version. New 3D visualization of principal coordinates analysis results, with the option to view multiple coordinate axes simultaneously, provides a powerful way to quickly identify patterns that relate vast numbers of microbial communities. We show the potential of Fast UniFrac using examples from three data types: Sanger-sequencing studies of diverse free-living and animal-associated bacterial assemblages and from the gut of obese humans as they diet, pyrosequencing data integrated from studies of the human hand and gut, and PhyloChip data from a study of citrus pathogens. We show that a Fast UniFrac analysis using a reference tree recaptures patterns that could not be detected without considering phylogenetic relationships and that Fast UniFrac, coupled with BLAST-based sequence assignment, can be used to quickly analyze pyrosequencing runs containing hundreds of thousands of sequences, showing patterns relating human and gut samples. Finally, we show that the application of Fast UniFrac to PhyloChip data could identify well-defined subcategories associated with infection. Together, these case studies point the way toward a broad range of applications and show some of the new features of Fast UniFrac.
This article was published in ISME J
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research