A program to collect data in bins across a list of features.

SYNOPSIS [--options] --in <filename> --out <filename> [--options] -i <filename> <data1> <data2...>
  Options for data files:
  -i --in <filename>                  input file: txt bed gff gtf refFlat ucsc
  -o --out <filename>                 optional output file, default overwrite 
  Options for new files:
  -d --db <name>                      annotation database: mysql sqlite
  -f --feature <type>                 one or more feature types from db or gff
  Options for data collection:
  -D --ddb <name|file>                data or BigWigSet database
  -a --data <dataset|filename>        data from which to collect: bw bam etc
  -m --method [mean|median|stddev|    statistical method for collecting data
        min|max|range|sum|count|      default mean
  -t --strand [all|sense|antisense]   strand of data relative to feature (all)
  -u --subfeature [exon|cds|          collect over gene subfeatures 
  --force_strand                      use the specified strand in input file
  --long                              collect each window independently
  Bin specification:
  -b --bins <integer>                 number of bins feature is divided (10)
  -x --ext <integer>                  number of extended bind outside feature
  -X --extsize <integer>              size of extended bins
  --min <integer>                     minimum size of feature to divide
  -U --sum                            generate summary file
  --smooth                            smoothen sparse data
  General options:
  -z --gz                             compress output file
  -c --cpu <integer>                  number of threads, default 4
  --noparse                           do not parse input file into SeqFeatures
  -v --version                        print version and exit
  -h --help                           show extended documentation


The command line flags and descriptions:

Options for data files

--in <filename>

Specify an input file containing either a list of database features or genomic coordinates for which to collect data. Any tab-delimited text file with recognizable headers is supported. Gene annotation file formats are also supported, including bed, gtf, gff3, refFlat, and UCSC native formats such as gene prediction tables are all supported. Gene annotation files will be parsed as sequence features. Files may be gzipped compressed.

--out <filename>

Specify the output file name. Default is to overwrite the input text file. Required if generating a new file from a database.

Options for new files

--db <name>

Specify the name of a Bio::DB::SeqFeature::Store annotation database from which gene or feature annotation may be collected rather than providing an input file. The name may be that of a MySQL database or a SQLite file.

--feature <type | type:source | alias>,...

Specify the type of feature from which to collect values. This is required only for new feature tables. Three types of values may be passed: the feature type, feature type and source expressed as 'type:source'. More than one feature may be included as a comma-delimited list (no spaces).

Options for data collection

--ddb <name | filename>

If the data to be collected is from a second database that is separate from the annotation database, provide the name of the data database here. Typically, a second Bio::DB::SeqFeature::Store or BigWigSet database is provided here.

--data <dataset_name | filename>

Provide the name of the dataset to collect the values. If no dataset is specified on the command line, then the program will interactively present a list of datasets from the data database to select.

The dataset may be a database file, including bigWig (.bw), bigBed (.bb), or Bam alignment (.bam) files. The files may be local or remote (specified with a http: or ftp: prefix).

Alternatively, the dataset may be a feature type in a BioPerl Bio::DB::SeqFeature::Store or Bio::DB::BigWigSet database. Provide either the feature type or type:source.

More than one datasource may be provided; use multiple data options or list the datasets at the end of the command.

--method <text>

Specify the method for combining all of the dataset values within the genomic region of the feature. Accepted values include:

  • mean (default)

  • median

  • sum

  • stddev Standard deviation of the population (within the region)

  • min

  • max

  • range Returns difference of max and min

  • count

    Counts the number of overlapping items.

  • pcount (precise count)

    Counts the number of items that precisely fall within the query region. Partially overlapping are not counted.

  • ncount (name count)

    Counts unique names. Useful when spliced alignments overlap more than one exon and you want to avoid double-counting.

--strand [all|sense|antisense]

Specify whether stranded data should be collected. Three values are allowed: all datasets should be collected (default), only sense datasets, or only antisense datasets should be collected.


For features that are not inherently stranded (strand value of 0) or that you want to impose a different strand, set this option when collecting stranded data. This will reassign the specified strand for each feature regardless of its original orientation. This requires the presence of a "strand" column in the input data file. This option only works with input file lists of database features, not defined genomic regions (e.g. BED files). Default is false.

--subfeature [ exon | cds | 5p_utr | 3p_utr ]

Optionally specify the type of subfeature to collect from, rather than the entire gene. If the parent feature is gene and the subfeature is exon, then all transcripts of the gene will be collapsed. The other subfeatures (cds, 5p_utr, and 3p_utr) will not work with gene features but only with coding mRNA transcripts. Note that the long option is incompatible. Default is null.


Legacy option for specifying --subfeature exon.


Indicate that data should be collected independently for each long window. This may be enabled automatically if the sum of the entire window length passes a predefined threshold. The default for 'short' windows is to collect all of the point data from the dataset first, and then divide the results into the different windows. Datasets consisting of "long" features, for example long alignments, may be counted more than once in long mode when they span multiple windows. Not compatible when subfeatures are enabled.

Bin specification

--bins <integer>

Specify the number of bins that will be generated over the length of the feature. The size of the feature is a percentage of the feature length. The default number is 10, which results in bins of size equal to 10% of the feature length.

--ext <integer>

Specify the number of extended bins on either side of the feature. The bins are of the same size as determined by the feature length and the --bins value. The default is 0.

--extsize <integer>

Specify the exact bin size in bp of the extended bins rather than using a percentage of feature of length.

--min <integer>

Specify the minimum feature size to be averaged. Features with a length below this value will not be skipped (all bins will have null values). This is to avoid having bin sizes below the average microarray tiling distance. The default is undefined (no limit).



Indicate that the data should be averaged across all features at each position, suitable for graphing. A separate text file will be written with the suffix '_summed' with the averaged data. The default is false.


Indicate that windows without values should (not) be interpolated from neighboring values. The default is false.

General options


Specify whether (or not) the output file should be compressed with gzip.

--cpu <integer>

Specify the number of CPU cores to execute in parallel. This requires the installation of Parallel::ForkManager. With support enabled, the default is 4. Disable multi-threaded execution by setting to 1.


Prevent input annotation files from being automatically parsed into sequence features. Coordinates will be used as is and new data columns will be appended to the input file.


Print the version number.


This help text.


This program will collect data across a gene or feature body into numerous percentile bins. It is used to determine if there is a spatial distribution preference for the dataset over gene bodies. The number of bins may be specified as a command argument (default 10). Additionally, extra bins may be extended on either side of the gene (default 0 on either side). The bin size is determined as a percentage of gene length.


These are some examples of some common scenarios for collecting data.

Collect scores in intervals

You want to collect the mean score from a bigWig file in 10% intervals across each feature in a Bed file. --data --in input.bed
Collect scores in intervals plus extended regions

You want to collect the maximum score in 5% intervals across each each feature as well as five 100 bp intervals outside of each interval. --bins 20 --method max --ext 5 --extsize 100 --data \ --in input.txt
Collect scores in intervals for genes

You want to collect stranded alignment counts from a Bam file for genes in an annotation database. --db annotation --feature gene --strand sense \
  --method count --data alignments.bam --out gene_profile --sum


 Timothy J. Parnell, PhD
 Howard Hughes Medical Institute
 Dept of Oncological Sciences
 Huntsman Cancer Institute
 University of Utah
 Salt Lake City, UT, 84112

This package is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the Artistic License 2.0.