One of the most common tasks in microbiome studies is comparing microbial profiles across various groups of people (e.g., sick vs. healthy). Routinely, researchers use multivariate linear regression models to address these challenges, such as linear regression packages, MaAsLin2, LEfSe, etc. In many cases, it is unclear which metadata variables should be included in the linear model, as many human-associated variables are correlated with one another. Thus, multiple models are often tested, each including a different set of variables, however the challenge of selecting the metadata variables in the final model remains. Here, we present EasyMap, an interactive online tool allowing for (1) running multiple multivariate linear regression models, on the same features and metadata; (2) visualizing the associations between microbial features and clinical metadata found in each model; and (3) comparing across the various models to identify the critical metadata variables and select the optimal model. EasyMap provides a side-by-side visualization of association results across the various models, each with additional metadata variables, enabling us to evaluate the impact of each metadata variable on the associated feature. EasyMap’s interface enables filtering associations by significance, focusing on specific microbes and finding the robust associations that are found across multiple models. While EasyMap was designed to analyze microbiome data, it can handle any other tabular data with numeric features and metadata variables. EasyMap takes the common task of multivariate linear regression to the next level, with an intuitive and simple user interface, allowing for wide comparisons of multiple models to identify the robust microbial feature associations. EasyMap is available at http://yassour.rcs.huji.ac.il/easymap.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding for this project is provided in part by the Azrieli Foundation and the Israeli Science Foundation.
Copyright © 2022 Dahan, Martin and Yassour.
- clinical association
- multivariate linear regression