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Meta4 a web application for sharing and annotating metagenomic gene predictions using web services

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    Rights statement: Copyright © Richardson, Escalettes, Fotheringham,Wallace andWatson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number168
JournalFrontiers in genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Whole-genome shotgun metagenomics experiments produce DNA sequence data from entire ecosystems, and provide a huge amount of novel information. Gene discovery projects require up-to-date information about sequence homology and domain structure for millions of predicted proteins to be presented in a simple, easy-to-use system. There is a lack of simple, open, flexible tools that allow the rapid sharing of metagenomics datasets with collaborators in a format they can easily interrogate. We present Meta4, a flexible and extensible web application that can be used to share and annotate metagenomic gene predictions. Proteins and predicted domains are stored in a simple relational database, with a dynamic front-end which displays the results in an internet browser. Web services are used to provide up-to-date information about the proteins from homology searches against public databases. Information about Meta4 can be found on the project website, code is available on Github, a cloud image is available, and an example implementation can be seen at.

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