A review of computational tools for generating metagenome-assembled genomes from metagenomic sequencing data

Chao YANG, Debajyoti CHOWDHURY, Zhenmiao ZHANG, William Kwok Wai CHEUNG, Aiping LYU, Zhaoxiang BIAN, Lu ZHANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Metagenomic sequencing provides a culture-independent avenue to investigate the complex microbial communities by constructing metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). A MAG represents a microbial genome by a group of sequences from genome assembly with similar characteristics. It enables us to identify novel species and understand their potential functions in a dynamic ecosystem. Many computational tools have been developed to construct and annotate MAGs from metagenomic sequencing, however, there is a prominent gap to comprehensively introduce their background and practical performance. In this paper, we have thoroughly investigated the computational tools designed for both upstream and downstream analyses, including metagenome assembly, metagenome binning, gene prediction, functional annotation, taxonomic classification, and profiling. We have categorized the commonly used tools into unique groups based on their functional background and introduced the underlying core algorithms and associated information to demonstrate a comparative outlook. Furthermore, we have emphasized the computational requisition and offered guidance to the users to select the most efficient tools. Finally, we have indicated current limitations, potential solutions, and future perspectives for further improving the tools of MAG construction and annotation. We believe that our work provides a consolidated resource for the current stage of MAG studies and shed light on the future development of more effective MAG analysis tools on metagenomic sequencing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6301-6314
Number of pages14
JournalComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • Metagenomic sequencing
  • Metagenome-assembled genomes
  • Genome assembly
  • Metagenome binning
  • Gene prediction
  • Gene functional annotation
  • Taxonomic classification
  • Microbial abundance profiling


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