Tool:Bedops V2.2 Released
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9.3 years ago

BEDOPS is a suite of tools to address common questions raised in genomic studies — mostly with regard to overlap and proximity relationships between data sets. It aims to be fast and flexible, facilitating the efficient and accurate analysis and management of large-scale genomic data.

The second major release of BEDOPS includes several new features which focus on improving how we handle arbitrarily large datasets, namely through compression and parallelization.

We have recently released BEDOPS v2.2. This includes fixes for an unstarch row cutoff bug, restoration of starchcat's gzip-backing support, as well as a reversion to the C-based wig2bed conversion utility to restore performance lost with the Python script. For those who make use of the source code download, we have also added a test suite for the Starch toolkit; see the starch/test/README documentation and makefile for more information.

We strongly recommend updating to this latest version. 64-bit Linux and 32-/64-bit Mac OS X installer packages are available from the Google site. Source code is also available from the Google site's SVN service; you will want to use gcc 4.7.2 or 4.8.0 to compile this suite.

All changes are summarized on the Google Code site.

Released in early May 2013, BEDOPS v2.1.1 features include:

  • Significant performance enhancements to bedmap .
  • Bug fixes for bedops --partition.
  • Improved error handling in Python-based *2bed conversion scripts (including wig2bed).
  • Other minor fixes.

Here is a summary of v2.1.0 features released in April 2013:

  • bedops

    • New --partition operator

      This operator will efficiently split overlapping inputs and report disjoint segments that partition the shared genomic space.

      To demonstrate, say you have a few input BED files (sorted with BEDOPS sort-bed) or equivalent Starch archives. Together they have coordinate segments on chrN that look like:


      The output from --partition on these inputs would be:


      One example of where this is useful is in finding intersections of elements within a single BED file, which was not possible with BEDOPS tools until now. Consider the following usage, where input.bed is a sorted BED file that we want to "self-intersect":

      $ bedops --partition input.bed \
          | bedmap --count --echo - input.bed \
          | awk -F"|" '($1 > 1) { print $2; }'

      A "real-world" application of this feature is in comparing paired-end reads, where the goal is to facilitate a quick search for abnormal insertions (or, conversely, deletions) between two sequencing experiments.

      (Thanks to Shane for the usage tip.)

  • starch

    • Improved error checking for interleaved records
  • Conversion scripts

    • All scripts now use BEDOPS sort-bed behind the scenes to output sorted BED output, ready for consumption by BEDOPS utilities like bedextract, bedmap, bedops and closest-features.

      In other words, it is no longer necessary to pipe converted output to sort-bed before piping to other BEDOPS utilities.

    • New psl2bed conversion script, converting PSL-formatted UCSC BLAT output to BED.

    • New wig2bed conversion script written in Python.

    • New *2starch convenience scripts offered for all *2bed scripts, which convert data and output Starch v2 archives.

  • Improved Mac OS X support

    • New installer package makes installation of BEDOPS binaries and scripts much easier for OS X 10.6 - 10.8 hosts.

    • Installer resolves fatal library errors seen by some end users of older OS X BEDOPS releases.

This release also includes major BEDOPS v2 features, such as:

  • Support for BEDOPS Starch archives with main toolkit

    • The bedops, bedmap, bedextract and closest-features tools now all accept Starch-formatted files as inputs, as well as UCSC BED files, as before. (In other words, it is no longer necessary to extract Starch data to intermediate files before applying set or statistical operations.)
  • Very efficient single-chromosome operations

    • New --chrom operator applies set, statistical or ID operations to specified chromosome with bedmap, bedops and closest-features, without needing to stream through the entire BED file. This is highly useful for parallelization tasks on very large BED data.
  • bedmap

    • New --echo-map-id-uniq operator lists unique ID values from mapped elements.

    • New --max-element and --min-element operators return the highest or lowest scoring overlapping map element.

  • sort-bed

    • New --max-mem option limits sorting to specified memory, useful for sorting large BED inputs larger than system memory.
  • starch, unstarch and starchcat

    • BEDOPS Starch v2 archives contain useful, precomputed metadata that can improve the efficiency of scripts.

      For instance, calling unstarch --elements on a Starch v2 archive shows the total number of records in the entire file or for any individual chromosome, while unstarch --bases and unstarch --bases-uniq give the number of total and unique bases covered by elements in the whole archive or over elements of the specified chromosome. These latter two options are analogous to those already available in bedmap.

      As an example, using the --elements operator on a Starch v2 archive made from DNaseI-seq or RNAseq tag data would return the total number of reads over the entire BED file. Using --elements chr3 would return the total number of tags in chromosome chr3.

      Values are precomputed and stored in the archive's metadata, allowing practically instantaneous retrieval. Going back to --elements again, this option is much, much faster than extracting data and piping it to wc -l.

    • New checksum data help validate the integrity of the archive and its metadata.

    • Other metadata enhancements to Starch-format archival and extraction, including: --note, --list-chromosomes, --archive-timestamp, --archive-type and --archive-version.

    • Added 20-35% performance boost to creating Starch archives with starch utility.

    • New documentation with technical overview of the Starch format specification.

  • Conversion scripts

  • Overall improvements in 64-bit type handling and error checking

    • Consistency across the codebase helps ensure that all BEDOPS applications can scale to arbitrarily large genomes.
tool bed Tool • 3.6k views
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+1 for --chrom --echo-map-id-uniq operators

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Hi Alex, the BEDOPS sort-bed command is light-speeds faster than GNU sort. The problem for me is and probably anyone else working on DNA methylation, SNPs or other single base features is that it spits back an error when the start and stop coordinates are the same in the input bed file. If there was a way to make it accept bed files with stop and stop co-orindates the same position, it would make it a much more useful tool for people like me. Thanks for your work on BEDOPS.


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One easy way to fix BED files with zero-length elements (where start = stop index) is to subtract one base from the start position with awk or similar, e.g.:

$ awk '{print $1"\t"($2-1)"\t"$3}' zero_length_elements.bed | sort-bed - > fixed_and_sorted.bed

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