Longitudinal Prediction of the Infant Gut Microbiome with Dynamic Bayesian Networks.

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Sci Rep 2016 Feb 8; 6:20359.




Sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene allows comprehensive assessment of bacterial community composition from human body sites. Previously published and publicly accessible data on 58 preterm infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit who underwent frequent stool collection was used. We constructed Dynamic Bayesian Networks from the data and analyzed predictive performance and network characteristics. We constructed a DBN model of the infant gut microbial ecosystem, which explicitly captured specific relationships and general trends in the data: increasing amounts of Clostridia, residual amounts of Bacilli, and increasing amounts of Gammaproteobacteria that then give way to Clostridia. Prediction performance of DBNs with fewer edges were overall more accurate, although less so on harder-to-predict subjects (p = 0.045). DBNs provided quantitative likelihood estimates for rare abruptions events. Iterative prediction was less accurate (p < 0.001), but showed remarkable insensitivity to initial conditions and predicted convergence to a mix of Clostridia, Gammaproteobacteria, and Bacilli. DBNs were able to identify important relationships between microbiome taxa and predict future changes in microbiome composition from measured or synthetic initial conditions. DBNs also provided likelihood estimates for sudden, dramatic shifts in microbiome composition, which may be useful in guiding further analysis of those samples. Sci Rep 2016 Feb 8; 6:20359.