Metabarcoding has been used in a range of ecological applications such as taxonomic assignment, dietary analysis, and the analysis of environmental DNA. However, after a decade of use in these applications there is little consensus on the extent to which proportions of reads generated corresponds to the original proportions of species in a community. To quantify our current understanding we conducted a structured review and meta‐analysis. The analysis suggests that a weak quantitative relationship may exist between the biomass and sequences produced (slope = 0.52 ±0.34, p<0.01), albeit it with a large degree of uncertainty. None of the tested moderators: sequencing platform type, the number of species used in a trial, or the source of DNA were able to explain the variance. Our current understanding of the factors affecting the quantitative performance of metabarcoding is still limited: additional research is required before metabarcoding can be confidently utilised for quantitative applications. Until then, we advocate the inclusion of mock communities when metabarcoding as this facilitates direct assessment of the quantitative ability of any given study.
- next-generation sequencing
- high-throughput sequencing
- School of Biological Sciences - Associate Professor in Molecular Ecology
- Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas - Member
- Organisms and the Environment - Member
Person: Research Group Member, Academic, Teaching & Research