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BMC Bioinformatics




BACKGROUND: Some of the current software tools for comparative metagenomics provide ecologists with the ability to investigate and explore bacterial communities using α- & β-diversity. Feature subset selection--a sub-field of machine learning--can also provide a unique insight into the differences between metagenomic or 16S phenotypes. In particular, feature subset selection methods can obtain the operational taxonomic units (OTUs), or functional features, that have a high-level of influence on the condition being studied. For example, in a previous study we have used information-theoretic feature selection to understand the differences between protein family abundances that best discriminate between age groups in the human gut microbiome.

RESULTS: We have developed a new Python command line tool, which is compatible with the widely adopted BIOM format, for microbial ecologists that implements information-theoretic subset selection methods for biological data formats. We demonstrate the software tools capabilities on publicly available datasets.

CONCLUSIONS: We have made the software implementation of Fizzy available to the public under the GNU GPL license. The standalone implementation can be found at


Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.