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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 27;9(1):e87126. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087126. eCollection 2014.

MetaMetaDB: a database and analytic system for investigating microbial habitability.

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Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, the University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan.


MetaMetaDB ( is a database and analytic system for investigating microbial habitability, i.e., how a prokaryotic group can inhabit different environments. The interaction between prokaryotes and the environment is a key issue in microbiology because distinct prokaryotic communities maintain distinct ecosystems. Because 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences play pivotal roles in identifying prokaryotic species, a system that comprehensively links diverse environments to 16S rRNA sequences of the inhabitant prokaryotes is necessary for the systematic understanding of the microbial habitability. However, existing databases are biased to culturable prokaryotes and exhibit limitations in the comprehensiveness of the data because most prokaryotes are unculturable. Recently, metagenomic and 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing approaches have generated abundant 16S rRNA sequence data that encompass unculturable prokaryotes across diverse environments; however, these data are usually buried in large databases and are difficult to access. In this study, we developed MetaMetaDB (Meta-Metagenomic DataBase), which comprehensively and compactly covers 16S rRNA sequences retrieved from public datasets. Using MetaMetaDB, users can quickly generate hypotheses regarding the types of environments a prokaryotic group may be adapted to. We anticipate that MetaMetaDB will improve our understanding of the diversity and evolution of prokaryotes.

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