Binning microbial genomes using deep learning

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


Identification and reconstruction of microbial species from metagenomics wide genome sequencing data is an important and challenging task. Current existing approaches rely on gene or contig co-abundance information across multiple samples and k-mer composition information in the sequences. Here we use recent advances in deep learning to develop an algorithm that uses variational autoencoders to encode co-abundance and compositional information prior to clustering. We show that the deep network is able to integrate these two heterogeneous datasets without any prior knowledge and that our method outperforms existing state-of-the-art by reconstructing 1.8 - 8 times more highly precise and complete genome bins from three different benchmark datasets. Additionally, we apply our method to a gene catalogue of almost 10 million genes and 1,270 samples from the human gut microbiome. Here we are able to cluster 1.3 - 1.8 million extra genes and reconstruct 117 - 246 more highly precise and complete bins of which 70 bins were completely new compared to previous methods. Our method Variational Autoencoders for Metagenomic Binning (VAMB) is freely available at:
Original languageEnglish
Article number490078
Publication statusSubmitted - 2018

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