Temporal Alignment of Longitudinal Microbiome Data

Ran Armoni, Elhanan Borenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A major challenge in working with longitudinal data when studying some temporal process is the fact that differences in pace and dynamics might overshadow similarities between processes. In the case of longitudinal microbiome data, this may hinder efforts to characterize common temporal trends across individuals or to harness temporal information to better understand the link between the microbiome and the host. One possible solution to this challenge lies in the field of “temporal alignment” – an approach for optimally aligning longitudinal samples obtained from processes that may vary in pace. In this work we investigate the use of alignment-based analysis in the microbiome domain, focusing on microbiome data from infants in their first years of life. Our analyses center around two main use-cases: First, using the overall alignment score as a measure of the similarity between microbiome developmental trajectories, and showing that this measure can capture biological differences between individuals. Second, using the specific matching obtained between pairs of samples in the alignment to highlight changes in pace and temporal dynamics, showing that it can be utilized to predict the age of infants based on their microbiome and to uncover developmental delays. Combined, our findings serve as a proof-of-concept for the use of temporal alignment as an important and beneficial tool in future longitudinal microbiome studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number909313
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume13
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • infant microbiome
  • longitudinal analysis
  • metagenomic
  • microbiome
  • temporal alignment

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