Critical Assessment of Metagenome Interpretation: A benchmark of metagenomics software

Alexander Sczyrba, Peter Hofmann, Peter Belmann, David Koslicki, Stefan Janssen, Johannes Dröge, Ivan Gregor, Stephan Majda, Jessika Fiedler, Eik Dahms, Andreas Bremges, Adrian Fritz, Ruben Garrido-Oter, Tue Sparholt Jørgensen, Nicole Shapiro, Philip D. Blood, Alexey Gurevich, Yang Bai, Dmitrij Turaev, Matthew Z. DemaereRayan Chikhi, Niranjan Nagarajan, Christopher Quince, Fernando Meyer, Monika Balvočiutė, Lars Hestbjerg Hansen, Søren J. Sørensen, Burton K.H. Chia, Bertrand Denis, Jeff L. Froula, Zhong Wang, Robert Egan, Dongwan Don Kang, Jeffrey J. Cook, Charles Deltel, Michael Beckstette, Claire Lemaitre, Pierre Peterlongo, Guillaume Rizk, Dominique Lavenier, Yu Wei Wu, Steven W. Singer, Chirag Jain, Marc Strous, Heiner Klingenberg, Peter Meinicke, Michael D. Barton, Thomas Lingner, Hsin Hung Lin, Yu Chieh Liao, Genivaldo Gueiros Z. Silva, Daniel A. Cuevas, Robert A. Edwards, Surya Saha, Vitor C. Piro, Bernhard Y. Renard, Mihai Pop, Hans Peter Klenk, Markus Göker, Nikos C. Kyrpides, Tanja Woyke, Julia A. Vorholt, Paul Schulze-Lefert, Edward M. Rubin, Aaron E. Darling, Thomas Rattei, Alice C. McHardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

377 Citations (Scopus)
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Methods for assembly, taxonomic profiling and binning are key to interpreting metagenome data, but a lack of consensus about benchmarking complicates performance assessment. The Critical Assessment of Metagenome Interpretation (CAMI) challenge has engaged the global developer community to benchmark their programs on highly complex and realistic data sets, generated from ∼700 newly sequenced microorganisms and ∼600 novel viruses and plasmids and representing common experimental setups. Assembly and genome binning programs performed well for species represented by individual genomes but were substantially affected by the presence of related strains. Taxonomic profiling and binning programs were proficient at high taxonomic ranks, with a notable performance decrease below family level. Parameter settings markedly affected performance, underscoring their importance for program reproducibility. The CAMI results highlight current challenges but also provide a roadmap for software selection to answer specific research questions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1071
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit


  • Metagenomics
  • Classification and taxonomy
  • Computational biology and bioinformatics
  • Critical Assessment
  • Metagenome Interpretation
  • metagenomics software
  • Critical Assessment of Metagenome Interpretation
  • CAMI


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