BURRITO: An interactive multi-omic tool for visualizing taxa-function relationships in microbiome data

Colin P. McNally, Alexander Eng, Cecilia Noecker, William C. Gagne-Maynard, Elhanan Borenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The abundance of both taxonomic groups and gene categories in microbiome samples can now be easily assayed via various sequencing technologies, and visualized using a variety of software tools. However, the assemblage of taxa in the microbiome and its gene content are clearly linked, and tools for visualizing the relationship between these two facets of microbiome composition and for facilitating exploratory analysis of their co-variation are lacking. Here we introduce BURRITO, a web tool for interactive visualization of microbiome multi-omic data with paired taxonomic and functional information. BURRITO simultaneously visualizes the taxonomic and functional compositions of multiple samples and dynamically highlights relationships between taxa and functions to capture the underlying structure of these data. Users can browse for taxa and functions of interest and interactively explore the share of each function attributed to each taxon across samples. BURRITO supports multiple input formats for taxonomic and metagenomic data, allows adjustment of data granularity, and can export generated visualizations as static publication-ready formatted figures. In this paper, we describe the functionality of BURRITO, and provide illustrative examples of its utility for visualizing various trends in the relationship between the composition of taxa and functions in complex microbiomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number365
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Data visualization
  • Function
  • Metagenomics
  • Microbiome
  • Taxonomy
  • Web interface


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