Why Use Explicet?

By their very nature, microbiome datasets have many sub-components; often they contain data derived from many samples, with many sequences comprising each sample, many results derived from each sequence, and all associated with metadata variables that describe the nature of the samples and the hypothesized sources of variability in the results derived from the sequences (Figure 1).


The manual, human-intensive effort required to manage the logistics of these complex datasets often significantly distracts from the scientific questions that prompted the study in the first place. Although microbiome analysis tool frameworks like Qiime and Mothur have made it more tractable to transform raw sequencer data objects to data that can be operated on by statistical tools like SAS [9] or R [8], a significant burden is still placed on the user, because current generation tools are principally command line driven and give little intrinsic data management support. Explicet was developed to ease the analysis of taxonomically classified microbiome datasets by providing metadata-driven data analysis and management capabilities from within a familiar and intuitive GUI. Explicet’s capabilities pick up at the point in the data analysis process at which sequence data have been transformed (by means of the user’s preferred sequence analysis pipeline) to taxonomic classifications. Once a project’s taxonomic and metadata components have been imported, Explicet can be used to subdivide the data by sample, metadata item value, and/or taxonomic attributes, and then apply a variety of analyses to the data. Results can be displayed as tables or graphics (x-y plot, heatmap, pie chart, stacked bar chart, etc.) or can be exported in formats suitable for manipulation by dedicated statistical packages (e.g., SAS, R, SPSS). Each project subdivision of interest can be stored in a separate workspace, all of which is contained in a single project file. Each of the graphics can be saved as “figures” which are easily recalled from the top level of each project.

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