Unbiased Taxonomic Annotation of Metagenomic Samples
The classification of reads from a metagenomic sample using a reference taxonomy is usually based on first mapping the reads to the reference sequences and then, classifying each read at a node under the lowest common ancestor of the candidate sequences in the reference taxonomy with the least classification error. However, this taxonomic annotation can be biased by an imbalanced taxonomy and also by the presence of multiple nodes in the taxonomy with the least classification error for a given read. In this paper, we show that the Rand index is a better indicator of classification error than the often used area under the ROC curve and F-measure for both balanced and imbalanced reference taxonomies, and we also address the second source of bias by reducing the taxonomic annotation problem for a whole metagenomic sample to a set cover problem, for which a logarithmic approximation can be obtained in linear time.
KeywordsMetagenomics Classification Taxonomic annotation Correlation Set cover
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