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      Taxonomy annotation and guide tree errors in 16S rRNA databases

      PeerJ

      PeerJ Inc.

      Taxonomy, Microbiology, Bioinformatics

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          Abstract

          Sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene is widely used to survey microbial communities. Specialized 16S rRNA databases have been developed to support this approach including Greengenes, RDP and SILVA. Most taxonomy annotations in these databases are predictions from sequence rather than authoritative assignments based on studies of type strains or isolates. In this work, I investigated the taxonomy annotations and guide trees provided by these databases. Using a blinded test, I estimated that the annotation error rate of the RDP database is ∼10%. The branching orders of the Greengenes and SILVA guide trees were found to disagree at comparable rates with each other and with taxonomy annotations according to the training set (authoritative reference) provided by RDP, indicating that the trees have comparable quality. Pervasive conflicts between tree branching order and type strain taxonomies strongly suggest that the guide trees are unreliable guides to phylogeny. I found 249,490 identical sequences with conflicting annotations in SILVA v128 and Greengenes v13.5 at ranks up to phylum (7,804 conflicts), indicating that the annotation error rate in these databases is ∼17%.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Naive Bayesian classifier for rapid assignment of rRNA sequences into the new bacterial taxonomy.

          The Ribosomal Database Project (RDP) Classifier, a naïve Bayesian classifier, can rapidly and accurately classify bacterial 16S rRNA sequences into the new higher-order taxonomy proposed in Bergey's Taxonomic Outline of the Prokaryotes (2nd ed., release 5.0, Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, 2004). It provides taxonomic assignments from domain to genus, with confidence estimates for each assignment. The majority of classifications (98%) were of high estimated confidence (> or = 95%) and high accuracy (98%). In addition to being tested with the corpus of 5,014 type strain sequences from Bergey's outline, the RDP Classifier was tested with a corpus of 23,095 rRNA sequences as assigned by the NCBI into their alternative higher-order taxonomy. The results from leave-one-out testing on both corpora show that the overall accuracies at all levels of confidence for near-full-length and 400-base segments were 89% or above down to the genus level, and the majority of the classification errors appear to be due to anomalies in the current taxonomies. For shorter rRNA segments, such as those that might be generated by pyrosequencing, the error rate varied greatly over the length of the 16S rRNA gene, with segments around the V2 and V4 variable regions giving the lowest error rates. The RDP Classifier is suitable both for the analysis of single rRNA sequences and for the analysis of libraries of thousands of sequences. Another related tool, RDP Library Compare, was developed to facilitate microbial-community comparison based on 16S rRNA gene sequence libraries. It combines the RDP Classifier with a statistical test to flag taxa differentially represented between samples. The RDP Classifier and RDP Library Compare are available online at http://rdp.cme.msu.edu/.
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            Greengenes, a chimera-checked 16S rRNA gene database and workbench compatible with ARB.

            A 16S rRNA gene database (http://greengenes.lbl.gov) addresses limitations of public repositories by providing chimera screening, standard alignment, and taxonomic classification using multiple published taxonomies. It was found that there is incongruent taxonomic nomenclature among curators even at the phylum level. Putative chimeras were identified in 3% of environmental sequences and in 0.2% of records derived from isolates. Environmental sequences were classified into 100 phylum-level lineages in the Archaea and Bacteria.
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              SILVA: a comprehensive online resource for quality checked and aligned ribosomal RNA sequence data compatible with ARB

              Sequencing ribosomal RNA (rRNA) genes is currently the method of choice for phylogenetic reconstruction, nucleic acid based detection and quantification of microbial diversity. The ARB software suite with its corresponding rRNA datasets has been accepted by researchers worldwide as a standard tool for large scale rRNA analysis. However, the rapid increase of publicly available rRNA sequence data has recently hampered the maintenance of comprehensive and curated rRNA knowledge databases. A new system, SILVA (from Latin silva, forest), was implemented to provide a central comprehensive web resource for up to date, quality controlled databases of aligned rRNA sequences from the Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya domains. All sequences are checked for anomalies, carry a rich set of sequence associated contextual information, have multiple taxonomic classifications, and the latest validly described nomenclature. Furthermore, two precompiled sequence datasets compatible with ARB are offered for download on the SILVA website: (i) the reference (Ref) datasets, comprising only high quality, nearly full length sequences suitable for in-depth phylogenetic analysis and probe design and (ii) the comprehensive Parc datasets with all publicly available rRNA sequences longer than 300 nucleotides suitable for biodiversity analyses. The latest publicly available database release 91 (August 2007) hosts 547 521 sequences split into 461 823 small subunit and 85 689 large subunit rRNAs.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ
                PeerJ Inc. (San Francisco, USA )
                2167-8359
                12 June 2018
                2018
                : 6
                Affiliations
                Sonoma, CA, USA
                Article
                5030
                10.7717/peerj.5030
                6003391
                © 2018 Edgar

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

                Funding
                The author received no funding for this work.
                Categories
                Bioinformatics
                Microbiology
                Taxonomy

                bioinformatics, microbiology, taxonomy

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