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Python library for processing and visualizing Hi-C data
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scripts Fix plotting bugs Apr 8, 2019
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HiCtool: a standardized pipeline to process and visualize Hi-C data (v2.0)

HiCtool is an open-source bioinformatic tool based on Python, which integrates several software to perform a standardized Hi-C data analysis, from the processing of raw data, to the visualization of heatmaps and the identification of topologically associated domains (TADs).

Table of Contents


We implemented a pipeline that is divided into three main sections:

  • Data preprocessing
  • Data normalization and visualization
  • TAD analysis

HiCtool leads the user step-by-step through a pipeline, which goes from the raw Hi-C data to the computation, visualization, and optimized storage of contact matrices (intra- and inter-chromosomal) and TAD coordinates.

HiCtool can implement contact data normalization following two approaches:

  • The explicit-factor correction method reported by Yaffe and Tanay and performed by the library HiFive. In this case, only intra-chromosomal analysis is performed, per each chromosome singularly.
  • The matrix balancing approach performed by Hi-Corrector. In this case, a global analysis is performed including all the chromosomes and both intra- and inter-chromosomal maps.


HiCtool is in a pipeline format to allow extreme flexibility and easy usage. In order to use HiCtool, you need to install the following Python libraries, packages and software. Everything is open source.

1. Python libraries [for python>2.7]:

2. Python packages:

3. Other software:


We have compiled a full tutorial to show the usage of the pipeline. Please check the Tutorial Homepage.

API documentation

All the functions used in this documentation are reported with all the input parameters in the API documentation.

Version history

March 28, 2019

  • Version 2.0 released:

    • HiCtool code is now hosted on GitHub.
    • Added inter-chromosomal analysis and visualization.
    • Included an additional global normalization method based on a matrix balancing approach.
    • New function to plot the all-by-all chromosomes global contact matrix.
    • Possibility of saving contact matrices in tab separated format.
    • Possibility of plotting topological domains over the heatmaps.
    • Small bug fixes.

December 2015 - October 2018

  • The initial release of HiCtool came out in late 2015. GITAR manuscript (including HiCtool) published in October 2018.


HiCtool was developed by Riccardo Calandrelli and Qiuyang Wu from Dr. Sheng Zhong's Lab at University of California, San Diego.

If you use HiCtool, please cite the paper:

Calandrelli, R., Wu, Q., Guan, J., & Zhong, S. (2018). GITAR: An open source tool for analysis and visualization of Hi-C data. Genomics, proteomics & bioinformatics.


For issues related to the use of HiCtool or if you want to report a bug, please contact Riccardo Calandrelli at

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