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      Integrative Genomics Viewer (IGV): high-performance genomics data visualization and exploration

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          Data visualization is an essential component of genomic data analysis. However, the size and diversity of the data sets produced by today’s sequencing and array-based profiling methods present major challenges to visualization tools. The Integrative Genomics Viewer (IGV) is a high-performance viewer that efficiently handles large heterogeneous data sets, while providing a smooth and intuitive user experience at all levels of genome resolution. A key characteristic of IGV is its focus on the integrative nature of genomic studies, with support for both array-based and next-generation sequencing data, and the integration of clinical and phenotypic data. Although IGV is often used to view genomic data from public sources, its primary emphasis is to support researchers who wish to visualize and explore their own data sets or those from colleagues. To that end, IGV supports flexible loading of local and remote data sets, and is optimized to provide high-performance data visualization and exploration on standard desktop systems. IGV is freely available for download from, under a GNU LGPL open-source license.

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          Most cited references 6

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          Artemis: sequence visualization and annotation

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            BigWig and BigBed: enabling browsing of large distributed datasets

            Summary: BigWig and BigBed files are compressed binary indexed files containing data at several resolutions that allow the high-performance display of next-generation sequencing experiment results in the UCSC Genome Browser. The visualization is implemented using a multi-layered software approach that takes advantage of specific capabilities of web-based protocols and Linux and UNIX operating systems files, R trees and various indexing and compression tricks. As a result, only the data needed to support the current browser view is transmitted rather than the entire file, enabling fast remote access to large distributed data sets. Availability and implementation: Binaries for the BigWig and BigBed creation and parsing utilities may be downloaded at Source code for the creation and visualization software is freely available for non-commercial use at, implemented in C and supported on Linux. The UCSC Genome Browser is available at Contact: Supplementary information: Supplementary byte-level details of the BigWig and BigBed file formats are available at Bioinformatics online. For an in-depth description of UCSC data file formats and custom tracks, see and
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              The Distributed Annotation System

              Background Currently, most genome annotation is curated by centralized groups with limited resources. Efforts to share annotations transparently among multiple groups have not yet been satisfactory. Results Here we introduce a concept called the Distributed Annotation System (DAS). DAS allows sequence annotations to be decentralized among multiple third-party annotators and integrated on an as-needed basis by client-side software. The communication between client and servers in DAS is defined by the DAS XML specification. Annotations are displayed in layers, one per server. Any client or server adhering to the DAS XML specification can participate in the system; we describe a simple prototype client and server example. Conclusions The DAS specification is being used experimentally by Ensembl, WormBase, and the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project. Continued success will depend on the readiness of the research community to adopt DAS and provide annotations. All components are freely available from the project website .

                Author and article information

                Brief Bioinform
                Brief. Bioinformatics
                Briefings in Bioinformatics
                Oxford University Press
                March 2013
                19 April 2012
                19 April 2012
                : 14
                : 2 , Special Issue: Next Generation Sequencing Visualization
                : 178-192
                Author notes
                Corresponding author. James T. Robinson, Broad Institute, 7 Cambridge Center (301B-5057), Cambridge, MA 02142, USA. Tel.: +617-714-7491; Fax: +617-714-8991; E-mail: jrobinso@
                © The Author(s) 2012. Published by Oxford University Press.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Pages: 15


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