I am trying to convert BAM files to Bigwig format. I was originally using a combination of genomeCoverageBed and BedgraphToBigWig to go from BAM to Bigwig in 2 steps:
samtools sort file.bam -o file.sorted.bam; genomeCoverageBed -bg -split -ibam file.sorted.bam -g file.chrom.sizes > file.bedgraph; sort -k1,1 -k2,2n file.bedgraph >file.sorted.bedgraph; bedGraphToBigWig file.sorted.bedgraph file.chrom.sizes file.bw;
After finding out that deeptools (function called bamCoverage) could convert BAM to Bigwig AND normalize all in one go, I decided to use it. I first decided to not normalize (just for testing purposes)
bamCoverage -b file.bam -o file.bw
This command works but I can't help but notice the output file.bw in both scenarios are drastically different. My starting BAM file is 1.1GB. When using bedGraphToBigWig, my output file is 122MB. When using bamCoverage, it's 23MB.
I know that you can change the --binSize in bamCoverage which will lead to a larger file. I tried a bin of 10 and my file was 45MB.
My question is: what is the relationship between file sizes between the 2 software? I am confused as to why the size is so different. From what I understand, in bamCoverage, the coverage is calculated as the number of reads per bin, where bins are short consecutive counting windows of a defined size. But what is the equivalent setting in BedGraphtoBigwig? Is it -blockSize or maybe itemsPerSlot? Their defaults are 256 and 1024 respectively so I am a bit confused.
I am not sure whether this is something to worry about? Presumably, all it means is that my 2 files (the one produced with BedgraphToBigwig and the one produced with bamCoverage) will have different 'resolutions', when visualized on a something like IGV or UCSC Genome Browser. Is this correct?