Repository for the web-based version / visualization engine for the SNPduoWeb tool. Designed to visualize identity-by-state in high-density snp data. Originally developed in the lab of Dr. Jonathan Pevsner at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Publication PMID: 19696932.
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Repository for the web-based version / visualization engine for the SNPduoWeb tool. Designed to visualize identity-by-state in high-density snp data. Originally developed in the lab of Dr. Jonathan Pevsner at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Publication PMID: 19696932.

Installing SNPduo Web

Installing the web-interfaced version of SNPduo is relatively straightforward, with minimal requirements:

  • Linux based OS
  • Web server - we have used apache
  • Perl
  • R statistical programming software - having an R version with cairo graphic support helps enormously
  • Image Magick

Download repo

Clone the SNPduo Web repository from github. Switching to the newest tag is highly recommended.

cd /code
git clone

There are two key directories included: cgi-bin that contains the executables needed by the web browser, and html, which contains the html files to serve the site. This code would have downloaded the files to /code/snpduoweb.

Setting up paths

The paths for receiving input data and serving output data need to be readable and writable by your http daemon. It's also important to consider the path for input data. It should be a location writeable by your http daemon, but should not be within your html serving directory. This prevents someone else directly accessing uploaded data by brute force (unlikely but possible).

For this example, we'll assume that the tool is going to be running on a Linux box (Ubuntu) with Apache serving as the web server.

Data directory

This is where upload data goes. I'm going to use a dedicated data directory for this. The user/group assignments will vary based on *nix platform and http server. In this example the user/group will be www-data/www-data.

sudo mkdir /data/snpduo_uploads
sudo chown www-data.www-data /data/snpduo_uploads

Html directory

You have to setup two different html directories. One to serve the front-end pages for the tool, and another for the output from the tool. They do not have to be in the same physical path, but the output is assumed to be a subdirectory of the webpage address specified in the CGI script (below).

Tool output *must** be in an individual folder. The tool checks the size of both the *upload and output folders** and deletes the contents. Any other content in those directories would also be lost!

sudo mkdir /var/www/html/snpduo
sudo mkdir /var/www/html/snpduo/tool_output
sudo chown www-data.www-data /var/www/html/snpduo
sudo chown www-data.www-data /var/www/html/snpduo/tool_output

Script directories

The cgi scripts must be readable and executable by your http daemon, and cgi must be enabled in your http daemon configuration. We have to setup a home for the cgi code and compiled R code.

sudo mkdir /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo
sudo chown www-data.www-data /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo

Copying files

Front-end web pages

Copy front-end webpages to their html serving home.

sudo cp -R /code/snpduoweb/html/* /var/www/html/snpduo
sudo chown -R www-data.www-data /var/www/html/snpduo

CGI scripts

The perl script (cgi file) is executed to upload & format data, as well as prepare R scripts for processing the uploaded information. It handles all file renaming, copying, moving, and directory size checks as well. Most be executable by daemon user!

sudo cp /code/snpduoweb/cgi-bin/SNPduo.cgi /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo
sudo chown www-data.www-data /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo
sudo chmod u+x /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo

R code and executables

R code templates, chromosome banding binaries, and raw C code must be copied as well. They can be in different directories, but in practice we keep the Perl CGI file and the R files together. The C code must be compiled into a shared library after copying.

sudo cp /code/snpduoweb/cgi-bin/*.R /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo
sudo cp /code/snpduoweb/cgi-bin/.Rbin /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo
sudo cp /code/snpduoweb/cgi-bin/*.c /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo
cd /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo
sudo R CMD SHLIB /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo/SNPduoCCodes.c
sudo chown www-data.www-data /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo/*
sudo chmod u+x /usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo/*

Configuring the Perl CGI file

The script is designed to require only a few modifications to function. Values, such as maximum directory sizes, directory locations, name of the host, etc are required. It's recommended to make a backup of the original CGI in the event of catastrophic file disruption. The default script is edited for this example below. All values requiring editing are at the top of the script.

use constant RENAME => "TRUE";
use constant CAIRO => "TRUE";
use constant PERLMAGICK => "FALSE";
my $datadir = "/data/snpduo_uploads";
my $outputdir = "/var/www/html/snpduo/tool_output";
my $webpage = "";
my $outputFolder = "tool_output"; # which turns into for serving result files
my $codedir = "/usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo"; 
my $compileddir = "/usr/lib/cgi-bin/snpduo";
my $pathtoR = "/usr/bin/R";
use constant FILE_MAX => 1024 * 1024 * 500;
use constant DIR_MAX => 1024 * 1024 * 5;
use constant OUTPUT_MAX => 1024 * 1024 * 5

There are several important characteristics to consider for your system.

  • Renaming files is faster than moving, but only works if they are on the same partition. If your html output directory and upload directory are on the same partition, use RENAME => "TRUE".

  • Cairo graphics in R are typically on par with or faster than Image Magick. Recommend using Cairo first, and comparing to Perl Magick if results are not acceptable (requires Perl Magick module to be installed).

  • FILE_MAX uses an internal file-size calculation that reports bytes. DIR_MAX and OUTPUT_MAX use a system du -c call that returns kilobytes of storage. Keep this in mind when setting the directory sizes. FILE_MAX defaults to a 500 MB max upload file size, and the upload and output directories default to 5 GB max sizes.

Configuring SNPduo01.html

The submit form has to point to the correct path for the CGI script (relative to cgi-bin base directory in Apache configuration).

<form enctype="multipart/form-data" action="/cgi-bin/snpduo/SNPduo.cgi" method="post">

Running SNPduoWeb

Read the tutorial page for help getting started. Files may be delimited by commas, tabs, or single-spaces. The column headers are assumed based on the data type chosen on the upload page.

Choosing samples

Sample selection is based on which columns of data you want to compare in your samples. For normal mode, place the column number of the first individual in column 1, and the number of the second individual in column 2. For all pair-wise comparisons of multiple individuals, set the "Run Mode" to Batch, and list all individuals in the Individual 1 box. They may be separated by commas are range designations, e.g. 5,6,7,9-12,14:22.

Running multiple chromosomes

You may hold control or shift to manually select multiple chromosomes from the upload page. Alternatively, the Genome by Chromosome mode will make a plot for each chromosome discovered in your upload data. The Genome method will make a single plot for the whole genome, and label the bottom to show the chromosome boundaries.

Genome build

Human builds 34-37 are available. This provides the chromosome sizes and cytoband information for plots.


An R generated postscript is created when selected. To make PNG representations of this postscript, both Make Postscripts and Make PNGs must be selected. If Do Not Make PNGs is selected, no thumbnail previews will be available on the output page. If Do Not Make Postscripts is selected, no thumbnails or postscript output will be available.

Block segmentation

This very simple block segmentation algorithm will attempt to find the boundaries of IBS blocks in your data iteratively (IBS0, then IBS1, then IBS2). It may not do a very good job, and was tuned on SNP data based on trial and error. Use with caution compared to the data plots, but is surprisingly robust for finding boundaries.

Run mode

Default is normal mode, when only a single pair of individuals is specified. As stated above, an exhaustive set of comparisons amongst all individuals can be performed by setting Run mode to Batch, and listing columns and column ranges on the Individual 1 box. Tabulate mode is also available. Samples are specified as in Batch mode, but no plots or segments are produced. This is only a very quick way to get IBS counts for individuals.