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OTU differential abundance testing is commonly used to identify OTUs that differ between two mapping file sample categories (i.e. Palm and Tongue body sites). We would recommend having at least 5 samples in each category. These methods can be used in comparison to group_significance.py on a rarefied matrix, and we would always recommend comparing the results of these approaches to the rarefied/group_significance.py approaches. We would also recommend treating the differentially abundant OTUs identified by these (metagenomeSeq zero-inflated Gaussian, or ZIG, and DESeq2 negative binomial Wald test) techniques with caution, as they assume a distribution and are therefore parametric tests. Parametric tests can do poorly if the assumptions about the data are not met. These tests are also newer techniques that are less well tested compared to rarefying with a group_significance.py test.
The input is a raw (not normalized, not rarefied) matrix having uneven column sums. With these techniques, we would still recommend removing low depth samples (e.g. below 1000 sequences per sample), and low abundance/rare OTUs from the data set. The DESeq2 method should NOT be used if the fit line on the dispersion plot (one of the diagnostic plots output by the -d, or –DESeq2_diagnostic_plots option) does not look smooth, there are big gaps in the point spacings, and the fitted line does not look appropriate for the data.
DESeq2 is stronger at very small/smaller data sets, but the run-time beyond 100 total samples becomes very long. MetagenomeSeq’s fitZIG is a better algorithm for larger library sizes and over 50 samples per category (e.g. 50 Palm samples), the more the better. In simulation, these techniques have higher sensitivity, but sometimes higher false positive rate compared to the non-parametric tests (e.g. Wilcoxon rank sum) in group_significance.py, especially with very uneven library sizes (starting at 2-3 fold difference). In practice and with real data, we do not observe much of a difference between these results and the tests in group_significance.py.
For more on these techniques please see McMurdie, P. and Holmes, S. ‘Waste not want not why rarefying microbiome data is inadmissible.’ PLoS Comp. Bio. 2014. For more on metagenomeSeq and fitZIG, please read Paulson, JN, et al. ‘Differential abundance analysis for microbial marker-gene surveys.’ Nature Methods 2013. For DESeq2/DESeq please read Love, MI et al. ‘Moderated estimation of fold change and dispersion for RNA-Seq data with DESeq2,’ Genome Biology 2014. Anders S, Huber W. ‘Differential expression analysis for sequence count data.’ Genome Biology 2010. Additionally, you can also read the vignettes for each of the techniques on the Bioconductor/R websites. Also, if you use these methods, please CITE the proper sources above (metagenomeSeq and DESeq2) as well as QIIME.
Usage: differential_abundance.py [options]
The resulting output OTU txt file contains a list of all the OTUs in the input matrix, along with their associated statistics and FDR p-values.
Single File OTU Differential Abundance Testing with metagenomeSeq_fitZIG:
Apply metagenomeSeq_fitZIG differential OTU abundance testing to a raw (NOT normalized) BIOM table to test for differences in OTU abundance between samples in the Treatment:Control and Treatment:Fast groups.
differential_abundance.py -i otu_table.biom -o diff_otus.txt -m map.txt -a metagenomeSeq_fitZIG -c Treatment -x Control -y Fast
Single File OTU Differential Abundance Testing with DESeq2_nbinom:
Apply DESeq2_nbinom differential OTU abundance testing to a raw (NOT normalized) BIOM table to test for differences in OTU abundance between samples in the Treatment:Control and Treatment:Fast groups, including output of plots.
differential_abundance.py -i otu_table.biom -o diff_otus.txt -m map.txt -a DESeq2_nbinom -c Treatment -x Control -y Fast -d
Multiple File OTU Differential Abundance Testing with metagenomeSeq_fitZIG:
Apply metagenomeSeq_fitZIG differential OTU abundance testing to a folder of raw (NOT normalized) BIOM tables to test for differences in OTU abundance between samples in the Treatment:Control and Treatment:Fast groups.
differential_abundance.py -i otu_tables/ -o diff_otus/ -m map.txt -a metagenomeSeq_fitZIG -c Treatment -x Control -y Fast