PERMANOVA-S: association test for microbial community composition that accommodates confounders and multiple distances. Results: We derive presence-weighted UniFrac to complement the existing UniFrac distances for more powerful detection of the variation in species richness. We develop PERMANOVA-S, a new distance-based method that tests the association of microbiome composition with any covariates of interest. PERMANOVA-S improves the commonly-used Permutation Multivariate Analysis of Variance (PERMANOVA) test by allowing flexible confounder adjustments and ensembling multiple distances. We conducted extensive simulation studies to evaluate the performance of different distances under various patterns of association. Our simulation studies demonstrate that the power of the test relies on how well the selected distance captures the nature of the association. The PERMANOVA-S unified test combines multiple distances and achieves good power regardless of the patterns of the underlying association. We demonstrate the usefulness of our approach by reanalyzing several real microbiome datasets. Availability and Implementation: miProfile software is freely available at https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/tang-lab/software/miProfile .

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