To provide functional insights, we offer functional profiling using Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and/or curated databases for gut metabolic modules, gut-brain modules, bile-acid metabolism, human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) metabolism, antimicrobial resistance genes (CARD), and more.
Different microbial species may occupy the same functional niche in different hosts, a phenomenon known as functional redundancy. Through our Functional Species Group (FSG) tool, we group species together into an FSG if they share the same functional potential regarding metabolic pathways, enzymatic activities, or disease association (e.g. encoding the molecular pathway for producing butyrate via transferase).
Furthermore, a group of functionally related species may be associated with a treatment group without any one of these species being differentially abundant on its own. An enrichment test for FSG can identify such associations (similar to what others call a taxon-set-enrichment analysis), by statistically testing whether multiple species, all belonging to the same FSG, systematically have a stronger association with the treatment group.
The power of this approach is that it identifies functional enrichment in the absence of species or strain enrichment – thus pinpointing functions or pathways of interest for the phenotype and/or treatment.
We are continuously expanding our FSG sets based on new scientific developments and our customers’ interests. We see functional analysis / FSG enrichment analysis as a natural extension of taxonomic analysis in many cases, as it can bring you closer to understanding the underlying mechanism linking the microbiome to the phenotype, disease, and/or treatment response.
Contact us to learn more about the applicability of functional microbiome analysis to your study, or to receive further details about our methodology.