16S classification

The paper “microclass: an R-package for 16S taxonomy classification”, authored by Kristian Hovde Liland, Hilde Vinje and Lars Snipen has been published in BMC Bioinformatics.


Taxonomic classification based on the 16S rRNA gene sequence is important for the profiling of microbial communities. In addition to giving the best possible accuracy, it is also important to quantify uncertainties in the classifications.

We present an R package with tools for making such classifications, where the heavy computations are implemented in C++ but operated through the standard R interface. The user may train classifiers based on specialized data sets, but we also supply a ready-to-use function trained on a comprehensive training data set designed specifically for this purpose. This tool also includes some novel ways to quantify uncertainties in the classifications.

Based on input sequences of varying length and quality, we demonstrate how the output from the classifications can be used to obtain high quality taxonomic assignments from 16S sequences within the R computing environment. The package is publicly available at the Comprehensive R Archive Network.