1 Introduction

The human gut metagenome is the focus of a lot of research in our time. From this site you can download the HumGut genome collection and accompanying metadata. As described in our paper, genomes encountered in healthy human guts worldwide were ranked by prevalence and clustered by whole genome identity (97.5%). Genomes representing the clusters, 30 691 in total, were retained as HumGut.

If you use this resource, we would ask you to cite our paper:

HumGut: A comprehensive human gut prokaryotic genomes collection filtered by metagenome data

as well as the underlying data repositories at EMBL-EBI (https://www.ebi.ac.uk/metagenomics/) and NCBI (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genome).

2 Download HumGut

2.1 FASTA files

The HumGut collection contains 30,691 genomes. In this compressed archive:

you find the compressed FASTA files, one for each genome. All files have Header-lines equipped with the proper text for building a kraken2 or krakenUniq database, see sections below for more details on this. This archive is roughly 18GB.

2.2 Metadata tables

The tab-separated text file

lists metadata about each HumGut genome (30,691 rows). Below you find a description of all columns.

Column Description
HumGut_name Unique HumGut name for each genome.
HumGut_tax_id Unique HumGut identifier for each genome. These are integers from 3 000 000 and up, a choice made to not interfere with the NCBI Taxonomy database integers.
cluster975 The highest resolution cluster this genome belongs to (97.5% sequence identity).
cluster95 The coarser resolution cluster this genome belongs to (95% sequence identity).
gtdbtk_tax_id GTDB-tk genome taxonomy ID. Note that the GTDB database (https://gtdb.ecogenomic.org/) has no such integer identifiers, and we have just artificially created some here. This is required for building kraken2/bracken/krakenUniq databases using this taxonomy. These integers are from 4 000 000 and up, a choice made to not interfere with the NCBI Taxonomy or the HumGut_tax_id mentioned above.
gtdbtk_organism_name Genome name as given by GTDB-tk.
gtdbtk_taxonomy The full GTDB-tk taxonomy, from domain and down.
ncbi_tax_id The taxonomy identifier from the NCBI Taxonomy database (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/taxonomy/).
ncbi_organism_name Genome name at the NCBI Taxonomy database.
ncbi_rank The rank at the NCBI Taxonomy database.
prevalence_score The average sequence identity across 3,534 healthy human gut metagenomes.
metagenomes_present The number of metagenomes where the genome was found present, using ≥ 95% sequence identity as a threshold.
completeness The estimated completeness (%) of the genome.
contamination The estimated contamination (%) of the genome.
GC Genome GC content.
genome_size Number of base pairs in genome.
source Either RefSeq (https://ftp.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genomes/refseq/) or UHGG (https://www.ebi.ac.uk/metagenomics/)
genome_type The completion level as listed in RefSeq, or MAG (all UHGG genomes).
cluster975_size Number of genomes in the same cluster of the highest resolution (97.5%).
cluster95_size Number of genomes in the same coarse cluster (95%).
genome_file The name of the FASTA file in the archive HumGut.tar.gz from above.
ftp_download The ftp address from where we downloaded the genome.

The tab-separated text file

lists metadata about all the 381,779 genomes used for obtaining the HumGut clusters (381,779 rows). The columns are a subset of those in the above table, see the above description of column names. Note that we do not provide the FASTA files for all these genomes at this website, since they are publicly available elsewhere. The FTP addresses in the column ftp_download shows where each genome is found.

3 Taxonomy

One obvious use of the HumGut collection is to assign some taxonomy to the reads you have after sequencing a human gut metagenome. In the table HumGut.tsv mentioned above, each HumGut genomes has a taxonomy identifier (HumGut_tax_id). You also find the columns gtdbtk_tax_id and ncbi_tax_id in the same table. These are the parents of the HumGut genome in the GTDB or the NCBI taxonomy, respectively. Be aware that even if each HumGut genome is clustered at a sub-species identity threshold, its parent may not be a species, but sometimes a genus or even higher rank. This may be because some branches in the taxonomy do not contain all ranks, or the HumGut genome is simply too different from any species listed by GTDB or NCBI, and has been assigned directly under some higher rank.

3.1 Taxonomy tree

In order to describe the taxonomy tree, we have chosen to use the data structures used by NCBI Taxonomy (https://ftp.ncbi.nih.gov/pub/taxonomy/). This is also what tools like kraken2 and krakenUniq uses (see below).

Here you can download the two files needed for using the GTDB taxonomy:

Here you can download the files needed for using the NCBI taxonomy:

Both these sets of files contain the HumGut_tax_id for all HumGut genomes. Their parents are the corresponding gtdbtk_tax_id or ncbi_tax_id. The files then contain the branches leading down to these taxa. Note that the files do not contain the full taxonomy for all taxa in either database. They have been pruned to only contain the relevant branches leading to some HumGut genome.

In addition, both pairs of files include the human genome branch, with its NCBI taxonomy. This has been included since we believe the human genome should always be included in a reference database for reads from the human gut (as possible contaminations).

Both taxonomies above are from January 2021. This changes slowly over time. We will make efforts to update this at regular intervals.

4 Building a kraken2 database

The kraken2 software (https://github.com/DerrickWood/kraken2) is a popular tool for making taxonomic classification of metagenome reads. Building a kraken2 database from the HumGut genomes is an excellent tool for taxonomic profiling of data from the human gut. Below we describe a procedure for building the kraken2 database.

4.1 The database folder

Make a folder in which you want to build the kraken2 database. We refer to this as $DBHOME here.

Make the subfolder $DBHOME/taxonomy. If you want to use the GTDB taxonomy, copy gtdb_names.dmp and gtdb_nodes.dmp into this, or the ncbi_names.dmp and ncbi_nodes.dmp if you want to use the NCBI taxonomy.

4.2 The human genome

We strongly recommend you also include the human genome in the database as long as your data are from the human gut. Here is the code for including the human genome:

kraken2-build --download-library human --db $DBHOME

The folder $DBHOME/library should appear, and inside it, the human/ subfolder.

4.3 The HumGut library

We assume you have extracted the HumGut.tar.gz from above into the folder $fna If you include all HumGut genomes, simply write all FASTA-files in this folder to a single uncompressed FASTA file. The latter because kraken2 cannot build from compressed FASTA files. It can be done like this

zcat $fna/*.fna.gz > HumGut975_library.fna

The file HumGut975_library.fna should be close to 60GB. Then you add this to the kraken2 database with

kraken2-build --add-to-library HumGut975_library.fna --db $DBHOME

A subfolder $DBHOME/library/added should now appear.You could speed this up by using multiple threads (--threads option to kraken2-build). After this step, delete the huge FASTA file.

In the example above, we included all HumGut genomes in the database. If this requires too much memory, or you simply just want a lower resolution, you may only use the 95% clustered genomes in the database. Here is some R code for creating a corresponding library file:

read_delim("HumGut.tsv", delim = "\t") %>% 
  distinct(cluster95, .keep_all = T) -> humgut.tbl
ok <- file.append("HumGut95_library.fna.gz",
                  file.path("fna", humgut.tbl$genome_file))

Note that in the above code we assume the file HumGut.tsv and the folder fna is in the current working directory, please use correct paths if they are elsewhere. Note also that in HumGut.tsv the rows are sorted in descending order by the prevalence_score and hence, the first row for each cluster is the genome to keep.

This code produces a compressed FASTA file, and you need to uncompress it before you call kraken2-build. This file should be around 10GB when uncompressed.

You may of course also select all kinds of other subsets of the HumGut genomes to include in your database, using a similar approach.

4.4 Building

The last step is just to build the database

kraken2-build --build --threads 20 --db $DBHOME

Here we used 20 threads. This step is the most time-consuming.