OMEinfo: Global Geographic Metadata for -omics Experiments

Matthew Crown, Matthew Bashton*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Microbiome studies increasingly associate geographical features like rurality and climate with microbiomes. It is essential to correctly integrate rich geographical metadata; and inconsistent definitions of rurality, can hinder cross-study comparisons. We address this with OMEinfo, a tool for automated retrieval of consistent geographical metadata from user-provided location data. OMEinfo leverages open data sources such as the Global Human Settlement Layer, and Open-Data Inventory for Anthropogenic Carbon dioxide. OMEinfo's web-app enables users to visualize and investigate the spatial distribution of metadata features. OMEinfo promotes reproducibility and consistency in microbiome metadata through a standardized metadata retrieval approach. To demonstrate utility, OMEinfo is used to replicate the results of a previous study linking population density to bacterial diversity. As the field explores relationships between microbiomes and geographical features, tools like OMEinfo will prove vital in developing a robust, accurate, and interconnected understanding of these interactions, whilst having applicability beyond this field to any studies utilizing location-based metadata. Finally, we release the OMEinfo annotation dataset of 5.3 million OMEinfo annotated samples from the ENA, for use in retrospective analyses of sequencing samples, and suggest several ways researchers and sequencing read repositories can improve the quality of underlying metadata submitted to these public stores.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbervbae025
Number of pages4
JournalBioinformatics Advances
Issue number1
Early online date21 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Feb 2024

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