Metatax: Metataxonomics with a Compi-Based Pipeline for Precision Medicine

Interdiscip Sci. 2020 Sep;12(3):252-257. doi: 10.1007/s12539-020-00368-6. Epub 2020 Apr 30.


The human body immune system, metabolism and homeostasis are affected by microbes. Dysbiosis occurs when the homeostatic equilibrium is disrupted due to an alteration in the normal microbiota of the intestine. Dysbiosis can cause cancer, and also affect a patient's ability to respond to treatment. Metataxonomics seeks to identify the bacteria present in a biological sample, based on the sequencing of the 16S rRNA genetic marker. Precision medicine attempts to find relationships between the microbiota and the risk of acquiring cancer, and design new therapies targeting bacteria. Flexible and portable bioinformatic pipelines are necessary to be able to bring metataxonomics to the clinical field, which allow groups of biological samples to be classified according to their diversity in the microbiota. With this aim we implemented Metatax, a new pipeline to analyze biological samples based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The results obtained with our pipeline should complement those obtained by sequencing a patient's DNA and RNA, in addition to clinical data, to improve knowledge of the possible reasons for a disease or a worse response to treatment.

Keywords: 16S rRNA gene; Bioinformatics pipeline; Cancer research; Compi; Framework; Metataxonomics; NGS; OTU; Precision medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Dysbiosis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics*


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S