home Building science New paper: Taxonomic annotation of public fungal ITS sequences from the built environment – a report from an April 10–11, 2017 workshop (Aberdeen, UK)

New paper: Taxonomic annotation of public fungal ITS sequences from the built environment – a report from an April 10–11, 2017 workshop (Aberdeen, UK)

The report (and the data) from our Sloan-funded taxonomic annotation workshop on fungi in the built environment was just published in MycoKeys: https://mycokeys.pensoft.net/article/20887/list/4/

Abstract

Recent DNA-based studies have shown that the built environment is surprisingly rich in fungi. These indoor fungi – whether transient visitors or more persistent residents – may hold clues to the rising levels of human allergies and other medical and building-related health problems observed globally. The taxonomic identity of these fungi is crucial in such pursuits. Molecular identification of the built mycobiome is no trivial undertaking, however, given the large number of unidentified, misidentified, and technically compromised fungal sequences in public sequence databases. In addition, the sequence metadata required to make informed taxonomic decisions – such as country and host/substrate of collection – are often lacking even from reference and ex-type sequences. Here we report on a taxonomic annotation workshop (April 10–11, 2017) organized at the James Hutton Institute/University of Aberdeen (UK) to facilitate reproducible studies of the built mycobiome. The 32 participants went through public fungal ITS barcode sequences related to the built mycobiome for taxonomic and nomenclatural correctness, technical quality, and metadata availability. A total of 19,508 changes – including 4,783 name changes, 14,121 metadata annotations, and the removal of 99 technically compromised sequences – were implemented in the UNITE database for molecular identification of fungi (https://unite.ut.ee/) and shared with a range of other databases and downstream resources. Among the genera that saw the largest number of changes were Penicillium, Talaromyces, Cladosporium, Acremonium, and Alternaria, all of them of significant importance in both culture-based and culture-independent surveys of the built environment.

Figures and figure legends

Figure 1. Analysis of the built environment sequences for country of collection. Country centroids based on the geographical centres of contiguous country land masses are marked with bubbles of different size on the global map to indicate the number of built environment sequences originating from these countries as stated explicitly in the underlying INSDC records or as restored during the present effort and in Abarenkov et al. (2016) (57 distinct countries, sequence count ranging from 1 to 3,091). The figure is based on Abarenkov et al. (2016) plus the data added during the workshop, such that it indicates the scientific state of ITS-based Sanger-derived sequencing of the built mycobiome as of spring 2017.
Figure 3. Analysis of the MIxS-BE “building occupancy type” (type of building where the underlying sample was taken). The figure is based on Abarenkov et al. (2016) plus the data added during the workshop, such that it indicates the scientific state of ITS-based Sanger-derived sequencing of the built mycobiome as of spring 2017.
Figure 2. Krona chart of the taxonomic affiliation of the built environment sequences down to order level. The Krona chart lists all annotated built environment sequences except those classified as Fungi sp. (32%) and those of non-fungal origin (1%). An interactive version of the Krona chart is provided as Supplementary material 4. The figure is based on Abarenkov et al. (2016) plus the data added during the workshop, such that it indicates the scientific state of ITS-based Sanger-derived sequencing of the built mycobiome as of spring 2017.

Many thanks to all workshop participants for making this happen!

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David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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