Phylogenetic Approaches to Microbial Community Classification
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The microorganisms associated with our body, collectively known as the microbiome, have profound impacts on biological processes including human health and disease. Different body sites are dominated by different major groups of microbes, but the variations within a body site, such as the mouth, can be more subtle. High-throughput DNA sequencing allows the assessment of the microbiome at an unprecedented scale, but creates new computational challenges. Machine-learning procedures can serve as useful tools for distinguishing microbes from similar body sites, understanding key organisms and their roles can highlight deviations from expected distributions of microbes.