OCTOPUS: Disk-based, Multiplatform, Mobile-friendly Metagenomics Classifier

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2024 Mar 15:2024.03.15.585215. doi: 10.1101/2024.03.15.585215.


Portable genomic sequencers such as Oxford Nanopore's MinION enable real-time applications in both clinical and environmental health, e.g., detection of bacterial outbreaks. However, there is a bottleneck in the downstream analytics when bioinformatics pipelines are unavailable, e.g., when cloud processing is unreachable due to absence of Internet connection, or only low-end computing devices can be carried on site. For instance, metagenomics classifiers usually require a large amount of memory or specific operating systems/libraries. In this work, we present a platform-friendly software for portable metagenomic analysis of Nanopore data, the Oligomer-based Classifier of Taxonomic Operational and Pan-genome Units via Singletons (OCTOPUS). OCTOPUS is written in Java, reimplements several features of the popular Kraken2 and KrakenUniq software, with original components for improving metagenomics classification on incomplete/sampled reference databases (e.g., selection of bacteria of public health priority), making it ideal for running on smartphones or tablets. We indexed both OCTOPUS and Kraken2 on a bacterial database with ~4,000 reference genomes, then simulated a positive (bacterial genomes from the same species, but different genomes) and two negative (viral, mammalian) Nanopore test sets. On the bacterial test set OCTOPUS yielded sensitivity and precision comparable to Kraken2 (94.4% and 99.8% versus 94.5% and 99.1%, respectively). On non-bacterial sequences (mammals and viral), OCTOPUS dramatically decreased (4- to 16-fold) the false positive rate when compared to Kraken2 (2.1% and 0.7% versus 8.2% and 11.2%, respectively). We also developed customized databases including viruses, and the World Health Organization's set of bacteria of concern for drug resistance, tested with real Nanopore data on an Android smartphone. OCTOPUS is publicly available at https://github.com/DataIntellSystLab/OCTOPUS and https://github.com/Ruiz-HCI-Lab/OctopusMobile.

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