Megraft: a software package to graft ribosomal small subunit (16S/18S) fragments onto full-length sequences for accurate species richness and sequencing depth analysis in pyrosequencing-length metagenomes and similar environmental datasets.
Metagenomic libraries represent subsamples of the total DNA found at a study site and offer unprecedented opportunities to study ecological and functional aspects of microbial communities. To examine the depth of a community sequencing effort, rarefaction analysis of the ribosomal small subunit (SSU/16S/18S) gene in the metagenome is usually performed. The fragmentary, non-overlapping nature of SSU sequences in metagenomic libraries poses a problem for this analysis, however. We introduce a software package - Megraft - that grafts SSU fragments onto full-length SSU sequences, accounting for observed and unobserved variability, for accurate assessment of species richness and sequencing depth in metagenomics endeavors.