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title: Genomic Annotation Resources
author: Marc RJ Carlson, Herve Pages, Sonali Arora, Valerie Obenchain, and Martin Morgan
toc_depth: 3
number_sections: true
KeyWords: annotation, next-generation sequencing, R, Bioconductor
# Introduction
Annotation resources make up a significant proportion of the Bioconductor
project[1]. And there are also a diverse set of online resources available
which are accessed using specific packages. This walkthrough will describe the
most popular of these resources and give some high level examples on how to use
Bioconductor annotation resources have traditionally been used near the end of
an analysis. After the bulk of the data analysis, annotations would be used
interpretatively to learn about the most significant results. But
increasingly, they are also used as a starting point or even as an intermediate
step to help guide a study that is still in progress. In addition to this,
what it means for something to be an annotation is also becoming less clear
than it once was. It used to be clear that annotations were only those things
that had been established after multiple different studies had been performed
(such as the primary role of a gene product). But today many large data sets
are treated by communities in much the same way that classic annotations once
were: as a reference for additional comparisons.
Another change that is underway with annotations in Bioconductor is in the way
that they are obtained. In the past annotations existed almost exclusively as
separate annotation packages[2,3,4]. Today packages are still an enormous
source of annotations. The current
[release repository](
contains over eight hundred annotation packages. This table summarizes some
of the more important classes of annotation objects that are often accessed
using packages:
table, th, td {
border-collapse: collapse;
th, td {
padding: 5px;
th {
text-align: left;
background-color: #D0D0D0;
<table width="100%">
<th> Object Type </th>
<th> Example Package Name </th>
<th> Contents </th>
<td> TxDb </td>
<a href =
<div> TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene </div>
<td> Transcriptome ranges for the known gene track of Homo sapiens,
e.g., introns, exons, UTR regions. </td>
<td> OrgDb </td>
<a href = "">
<div> </div>
<td> Gene-based information for Homo sapiens; useful for mapping between
gene IDs, Names, Symbols, GO and KEGG identifiers, etc. </td>
<td> BSgenome </td>
<a href =
<div> BSgenome.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19 </div>
<td> Full genome sequence for Homo sapiens. </td>
<td> OrganismDb </td>
<a href = "">
<div> Homo.sapiens </div>
<td> Collection of multiple annotations for a common organism
and genome build. </td>
<td> AnnotationHub </td>
<a href = "">
<div> AnnotationHub </div>
<td> Provides a convenient interface to annotations from many
different sources; objects are returned as fully parsed Bioconductor
data objects or as the name of a file on disk. </td>
But in spite of the popularity of annotation packages, annotations are
increasingly also being pulled down from web services like biomaRt[5,6,7] or
from the AnnotationHub[8]. And both of these represent enormous resources for
annotation data.
In part because of the rapidly evolving landscape, it is currently impossible
in a single document to cover every possible annotation or even every kind of
annotation present in Bioconductor. So here we will instead go over the most
popular annotation resources and describe them in a way intended to expose
common patterns used for accessing them. The hope is that a user with this
information will be able to make educated guesses about how to find and use
additional resources that will inevitably be added later. Topics that will be
covered will include the following:
# Set Up
In this chapter we make use of several Bioconductor packages. You can install
them with biocLite():
```{r, eval=FALSE}
## try http:// if https:// URLs are not supported
biocLite(c("AnnotationHub", "Homo.sapiens",
"BSgenome.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19", "biomaRt",
The usage of the installed packages will be described in detail within the
Usage section.
# Using AnnotationHub
The top of the list for learning about annotation resources is the relatively
new AnnotationHub package[8]. The AnnotationHub was created to provide a
convenient access point for end users to find a large range of different
annotation objects for use with Bioconductor. Resources found in the
AnnotationHub are easy to discover and are presented to the user as familiar
Bioconductor data objects. Because it is a recent addition, the AnnotationHub
allows access to a broad range of annotation like objects, some of which may
not have been considered annotations even a few years ago. To get started with
the AnnotationHub users only need to load the package and then create a local
AnnotationHub object like this:
```{r, echo=FALSE}
setAnnotationHubOption("CACHE", "/liftrroot/")
ah <- AnnotationHub()
```{r, eval=FALSE}
ah <- AnnotationHub()
The very 1st time that you call the AnnotationHub, it will create a cache
directory on your system and download the latest metadata for the hubs current
contents. From that time forward, whenever you download one of the hubs data
objects, it will also cache those files in the local directory so that if you
request the information again, you will be able to access it quickly.
The show method of an AnnotationHub object will tell you how many resources are
currently accessible using that object as well as give a high level overview of
the most common kinds of data present.
As you can see from the object above, there are a LOT of different resources
available. So normally when you get an AnnotationHub object the 1st thing you
want to do is to filter it to remove unwanted resources.
Fortunately, the AnnotationHub has several different kinds of metadata that you
can use for searching and subsetting. To see the different categories all you
need to do is to type the name of your AnnotationHub object and then tab
complete from the '$' operator. And to see all possible contents of one of
these categories you can pass that value in to unique like this:
One of the most valuable ways in which the data is labeled is according to the
kind of R object that will be returned to you.
Once you have identified which sorts of metadata you would like to use to find
your data of interest, you can then use the subset or query methods to reduce
the size of the hub object to something more manageable. For example you could
select only those records where the string 'GRanges' was in the metadata. As
you can see GRanges are one of the more popular formats for data that comes
from the AnnotationHub.
grs <- query(ah, "GRanges")
Or you can use subsetting to only select for matches on a specific field
grs <- ah[ah$rdataclass == "GRanges",]
The subset function is also provided.
orgs <- subset(ah, ah$rdataclass == "OrgDb")
And if you really need access to all the metadata you can extract it as a
DataFrame using mcols() like so:
meta <- mcols(ah)
Also if you are a fan of GUI's you can use the display method to look at your
data in a browser and return selected rows back as a smaller AnnotationHub
object like this:
```{r, eval=FALSE}
sah <- display(ah)
Calling this method will produce a web based interface like the one pictured
<img src="display.png" width="100%">
Once you have the AnnotationHub object pared down to a reasonable size, and are
sure about which records you want to retrieve, then you only need to use the
'[[' operator to extract them. Using the '[[' operator, you can extract by
numeric index (1,2,3) or by AnnotationHub ID. If you choose to use the former,
you simply extract the element that you are interested in. So for our chain
example, you might just want to 1st one like this:
res <- grs[[1]]
head(res, n=3)
## AnnotationHub exercises
Exercise 1: Use the AnnotationHub to extract UCSC data that is from Homo
sapiens and also specifically from the hg19 genome. What happens to the hub
object as you filter data at each step?
Exercise 2 Now that you have basically narrowed things down to the hg19
annotations from UCSC genome browser, lets get one of these annotations. Find
the oreganno track and save it into a local variable.
<p class="back_to_top">[ <a href="#top">Back to top</a> ]</p>
# OrgDb objects
At this point you might be wondering: What is this OrgDb object about? OrgDb
objects are one member of a family of annotation objects that all represent
hidden data through a shared set of methods. So if you look closely at the dog
object created below you can see it contains data for Canis familiaris
(taxonomy ID = 9615). You can learn a little more about it by learning about
the columns method.
dog <- query(orgs, "Canis familiaris")[[1]]
The columns method gives you a vector of data types that can be retrieved from
the object that you call it on. So the above call indicates that there are
several different data types that can be retrieved from the tetra object.
A very similar method is the keytypes method, which will list all the data
types that can also be used as keys.
In many cases most of the things that are listed as columns will also come back
from a keytypes call, but since these two things are not guaranteed to be
identical, we maintain two separate methods.
Now that you can see what kinds of things can be used as keys, you can call the
keys method to extract out all the keys of a given key type.
head(keys(dog, keytype="ENTREZID"))
This is useful if you need to get all the IDs of a particular kind but the keys
method has a few extra arguments that can make it even more flexible. For
example, using the keys method you could also extract the gene SYMBOLS that
contain "COX" like this:
keys(dog, keytype="SYMBOL", pattern="COX")
Or if you really needed an other keytype, you can use the column argument to
extract the ENTREZ GENE IDs for those gene SYMBOLS that contain the string
keys(dog, keytype="ENTREZID", pattern="COX", column="SYMBOL")
But often, you will really want to extract other data that matches a particular
key or set of keys. For that there are two methods which you can use. The
more powerful of these is probably select. Here is how you would look up the
gene SYMBOL, and REFSEQ id for specific entrez gene ID.
select(dog, keys="804478", columns=c("SYMBOL","REFSEQ"), keytype="ENTREZID")
When you call it, select will return a data.frame that attempts to fill in
matching values for all the columns you requested. However, if you ask select
for things that have a many to one relationship to your keys it can result in
an expansion of the data object that is returned. For example, watch what
happens when we ask for the GO terms for the same entrez gene ID:
select(dog, keys="804478", columns="GO", keytype="ENTREZID")
Because there are several GO terms associated with the gene "804478", you end
up with many rows in the data.frame. This can become problematic if you then
ask for several columns that have a many to one relationship to the original
key. If you were to do that, not only would the result multiply in size, it
would also become really hard to use. A better strategy is to be selective
when using select.
Sometimes you might want to look up matching results in a way that is simpler
than the data.frame object that select returns. This is especially true when
you only want to look up one kind of value per key. For these cases, we
recommend that you look at the mapIds method. Lets look at what happens if
request the same basic information as in our recent select call, but instead
using the mapIds method:
mapIds(dog, keys="804478", column="GO", keytype="ENTREZID")
As you can see, the mapIds method allows you to simplify the result that is
returned. And by default, mapIds only returns the 1st matching element for
each key. But what if you really need all those GO terms returned when you
call mapIds? Well then you can make use of the mapIds multiVals argument.
There are several options for this argument, we have already seen how by
default you can return only the 'first' element. But you can also return a
'list' or 'CharacterList' object, or you can 'filter' out or return 'asNA' any
keys that have multiple matches. You can even define your own rule (as a
function) and pass that in as an argument to multiVals. Lets look at what
happens when you return a list:
mapIds(dog, keys="804478", column="GO", keytype="ENTREZID", multiVals="list")
Now you know how to extract information from an OrgDb object, you might find it
helpful to know that there is a whole family of other AnnotationDb derived
objects that you can also use with these same five methods (keytypes(),
columns(), keys(), select(), and mapIds()). For example there are ChipDb
objects, InparanoidDb objects and TxDb objects which contain data about
microarray probes, inparanoid homology partners or transcript range information
respectively. And there are also more specialized objects like GODb or
ReactomeDb objects which offer access to data from GO and reactome. In the
next section, we will be looking at one of the more popular classes of these
objects: the TxDb object.
## OrgDb exercises
Exercise 3: Look at the help page for the different columns and keytypes values
with: help("SYMBOL"). Now use this information and what we just described to
look up the entrez gene and chromosome for the gene symbol "MSX2".
Exercise 4: In the previous exercise we had to use gene symbols as keys. But
in the past this kind of behavior has sometimes been inadvisable because some
gene symbols are used as the official symbol for more than one gene. To learn
if this is still happening take advantage of the fact that entrez gene ids are
uniquely assigned, and extract all of the gene symbols and their associated
entrez gene ids from the package. Then check the symbols for
<p class="back_to_top">[ <a href="#top">Back to top</a> ]</p>
# TxDb Objects
As mentioned before, TxDb objects can be accessed using the standard set of
methods: keytypes(), columns(), keys(), select(), and mapIds(). But because
these objects contain information about a transcriptome, they are often used to
compare range based information to these important features of the genome[3,4].
As a result they also have specialized accessors for extracting out ranges that
correspond to important transcriptome characteristics.
Lets start by loading a TxDb object from an annotation package based on the
UCSC ensembl genes track for Drosophila. A common practice when loading these
is to shorten the long name to 'txdb' (just as a convenience).
txdb <- TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene
Just by looking at the TxDb object, we can learn a lot about what data it
contains including where the data came from, which build of the UCSC genome it
was based on and the last time that the object was updated. One of the most
common uses for a TxDb object is to extract various kinds of transcript data
out of it. So for example you can extract all the transcripts out of the TxDb
as a GRanges object like this:
txs <- transcripts(txdb)
Similarly, there are also extractors for exons(), cds(), genes() and
promoters(). Which kind of feature you choose to extract just depends on what
information you are after. These basic extractors are fine if you only want a
flat representation of these data, but many of these features are inherently
nested. So instead of extracting a flat GRanges object, you might choose
instead to extract a GRangesList object that groups the transcripts by the
genes that they are associated with like this:
txby <- transcriptsBy(txdb, by="gene")
Just as with the flat extractors, there is a whole family of extractors
available depending on what you want to extract and how you want it grouped.
They include transcriptsBy(), exonsBy(), cdsBy(), intronsByTranscript(),
fiveUTRsByTranscript() and threeUTRsByTranscript().
When dealing with genomic data it is almost inevitable that you will run into
problems with the way that different groups have adopted alternate ways of
naming chromosomes. This is because almost every major repository has cooked
up their own slightly different way of labeling these important features.
To cope with this, the Seqinfo object was invented and is attached to TxDb
objects as well as the GenomicRanges extracted from these objects. You can
extract it using the seqinfo() method like this:
si <- seqinfo(txdb)
And since the seqinfo information is also attached to the GRanges objects
produced by the TxDb extractors, you can also call seqinfo on the results of
those methods like this:
txby <- transcriptsBy(txdb, by="gene")
si <- seqinfo(txby)
The Seqinfo object contains a lot of valuable data about which chromosome
features are present, whether they are circular or linear, and how long each
one is. It is also something that will be checked against if you try to do an
operation like 'findOverlaps' to compute overlapping ranges etc. So it's a
valuable way to make sure that the chromosomes and genome are the same for your
annotations as the range that you are comparing them to. But sometimes you may
have a situation where your annotation object contains data that is comparable
to your data object, but where it is simply named with a different naming
style. For those cases, there are helpers that you can use to discover what
the current name style is for an object. And there is also a setter method to
allow you to change the value to something more appropriate. So in the
following example, we are going to change the seqlevelStyle from 'UCSC' to
'ensembl' based naming convention (and then back again).
seqlevelsStyle(txdb) <- "NCBI"
## then change it back
seqlevelsStyle(txdb) <- "UCSC"
In addition to being able to change the naming style used for an object with
seqinfo data, you can also toggle which of the chromosomes are 'active' so that
the software will ignore certain chromosomes. By default, all of the
chromosomes are set to be 'active'.
head(isActiveSeq(txdb), n=30)
But sometimes you might wish to ignore some of them. For example, lets suppose
that you wanted to ignore the Y chromosome from our txdb. You could do that
like so:
```{r eval=FALSE}
isActiveSeq(txdb)["chrY"] <- FALSE
head(isActiveSeq(txdb), n=26)
## TxDb exercises
Exercise 5: Use the accessors for the TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene package
to retrieve the gene id, transcript name and transcript chromosome for all the
transcripts. Do this using both the select() method and also using the
transcripts() method. What is the difference in the output?
Exercise 6: Load the TxDb.Athaliana.BioMart.plantsmart22 package. This package
is not from UCSC and it is based on plantsmart. Now use select or one of the
range based accessors to look at the gene ids from this TxDb object. How do
they compare to what you saw in the TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene package?
<p class="back_to_top">[ <a href="#top">Back to top</a> ]</p>
# OrganismDb Objects
So what happens if you have data from multiple different Annotation objects.
For example, what if you had gene SYMBOLS (found in an OrgDb object) and you
wanted to easily match those up with known gene transcript names from a UCSC
based TxDb object? There is an ideal tool that can help with this kind of
problem and it's called an OrganismDb object[9]. On the one hand OrganismDb
objects can seem more complex than OrgDb, GODb or TxDb objects because they can
allow you to access all three object sources at once. But in reality they are
not that complicated. What they do is just query each of these resources for
you and then merge the results back together in way that lets you pretend that
you only have one source for all your annotations.
To try one out lets load one that was made as an annotation package:
And that's it. You can now use these objects in the same way that you use
OrgDb or TxDb objects. It works the same as the base objects that it contains:
select(Homo.sapiens, keys="4488", columns=c("SYMBOL","TXNAME"), keytype="ENTREZID")
In fact the five methods that worked for all of the other Db objects that we
have discussed (keytypes(), columns(), keys(), select(), and mapIds()) should
all work for OrganismDb objects. And if the OrganismDb object was composed to
include a TxDb, then the range based accessors should also work:
txs <- transcripts(Homo.sapiens, columns=c("TXNAME","SYMBOL"))
But one key difference between the range accessors for a TxDb object when
compared to an OrganismDb object is that the number of things that can be
requested via columns is much greater for the compound object...
## OrganismDb exercises
Exercise 7: Use the Homo.sapiens object to look up the gene symbol,
transcript start and chromosome using select(). Then do the same
thing using transcripts. You might expect that this call to
transcripts will look the same as it did for the TxDb object,
but (temporarily) it will not.
Exercise 8: Look at the results from call the columns method on the
Homo.sapiens object and compare that to what happens when you call
columns on the object and then look at a call to columns on the
TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene object. What is the difference
between TXSTART and CHRLOC? Which one do you think you should use for
transcripts or other genomic information?
Exercise 9: Use the Homo.sapiens object with the keys method to look
up the entrez gene IDs for all gene symbols that contain the letter
<p class="back_to_top">[ <a href="#top">Back to top</a> ]</p>
# BSgenome Objects
Another important annotation resource type is a BSgenome package[10]. There
are many BSgenome packages in the repository for you to choose from. And you
can learn which organisms are already supported by using the
available.genomes() function.
Unlike the other resources that we have discussed here, these packages are
meant to contain sequence data for a specific genome build of an organism. You
can load one of these packages in the usual way. And each of them normally has
an alias for the primary object that is shorter than the full package name (as
a convenience):
The getSeq method is a useful way of extracting data from these packages. This
method takes several arguments but the important ones are the 1st two. The 1st
argument specifies the BSgenome object to use and the second argument (names)
specifies what data you want back out. So for example, if you call it and give
a character vector that names the seqnames for the object then you will get the
sequences from those chromosomes as a DNAStringSet object.
seqNms <- seqnames(Hsapiens)
getSeq(Hsapiens, seqNms[1:2])
Whereas if you give the a GRanges object for the 2nd argument, you can instead
get a DNAStringSet that corresponds to those ranges. This can be a powerful
way to learn what sequence was present from a particular range. For example,
here we can extract the range of a specific gene of interest like this.
```{r eval=FALSE}
txby <- transcriptsBy(txdb, by="gene")
geneOfInterest <- txby[["4488"]]
res <- getSeq(Hsapiens, geneOfInterest)
Additionally, the Biostrings[11] package has many useful functions for finding
a pattern in a string set etc. You may not have noticed when it happened, but
the Biostrings package was loaded when you loaded the BSgenome object, so these
functions will already be available for you to explore.
## BSgenome exercises
Exercise 10: Use what you have just learned to extract the sequence for the
PTEN gene.
<p class="back_to_top">[ <a href="#top">Back to top</a> ]</p>
# biomaRt
Another great annotation resource is the biomaRt package[5,6,7]. The biomaRt
package exposes a huge family of different online annotation resources called
marts. Each mart is another of a set of online web resources that are
following a convention that allows them to work with this package. So the first
step in using biomaRt is always to load the package and then decide which
"mart" you want to use. Once you have made your decision, you will then use
the useMart() method to create a mart object in your R session. Here we are
looking at the marts available and then choosing to use one of the most popular
marts: the "ensembl"" mart.
ensembl <- useMart("ensembl")
Each 'mart' can contain datasets for multiple different things. So the next
step is that you need to decide on a dataset. Once you have chosen one, you
will need to specify that dataset using the dataset argument when you call the
useMart() constructor method. Here we will point to the dataset for humans.
ensembl <- useMart("ensembl",dataset="hsapiens_gene_ensembl")
Next we need to think about attributes, values and filters. Lets start with
attributes. You can get a listing of the different kinds of attributes from
biomaRt buy using the listAttributes method:
And you can see what the values for a particular attribute are by using the getBM method:
head(getBM(attributes="chromosome_name", mart=ensembl))
Attributes are the things that you can have returned from biomaRt. They are
analogous to what you get when you use the columns method with other objects.
In the biomaRt package, filters are things that can be used with values to
restrict or choose what comes back. The 'values' here are treated as keys that
you are passing in and which you would like to know more information about. In
contrast, the filter represents the kind of key that you are searching for. So
for example, you might choose a filter name of "chromosome_name" to go with
specific value of "1". Together these two argument values would request
whatever attributes matched things on the 1st chromosome. And just as there
here is an accessor for attributes, there is also an accessor for filters:
So now you know about attributes, values and filters, you can call the getBM
method to put it all together and request specific data from the mart. So for
example, the following requests gene symbols and entrez gene IDs that are found
on chromosome 1 of flies:
res <- getBM(attributes=c("hgnc_symbol", "entrezgene"),
filters = "chromosome_name",
values = "1", mart = ensembl)
Of course you may have noticed that a lot of the arguments for getBM are very
similar to what you do when you call shsapienselect. So if it's your
preference you can now also use the standard select methods with mart objects.
## biomaRt exercises
Exercise 11: Pull down GO terms for entrez gene id "1" from human by
using the ensembl "hsapiens_gene_ensembl" dataset.
Exercise 12: Now compare the GO terms you just pulled down to the same
GO terms from the package (which you can now retrieve
using select()). What differences do you notice? Why do you suspect
that is?
<p class="back_to_top">[ <a href="#top">Back to top</a> ]</p>
# Creating annotation objects
By now you are aware that Bioconductor has a lot of annotation resources. But
it is still completely impossible to have every annotation resource
pre-packaged for every conceivable use. Because of this, almost all annotation
objects have special functions that can be called to create those objects (or
the packages that load them) from generalized data resources or specific file
types. Below is a table with a few of the more popular options.
If you want this | And you have this | Then you could call this to help
------------------ | ------------------------- | ------------------------------
TxDb | tracks from UCSC | GenomicFeatures::makeTxDbPackageFromUCSC
TxDb | data from biomaRt | GenomicFeatures::makeTxDbPackageFromBiomaRt
TxDb | gff or gtf file | GenomicFeatures::makeTxDbFromGFF
OrgDb | custom data.frames | AnnotationForge::makeOrgPackage
OrgDb | valid Taxonomy ID | AnnotationForge::makeOrgPackageFromNCBI
ChipDb | org package & data.frame | AnnotationForge::makeChipPackage
BSgenome | fasta or twobit sequence files | BSgenome::forgeBSgenomeDataPkg
In most cases the output for resource creation functions will be an annotation
package that you can install.
And there is unfortunately not enough space to demonstrate how to call each of
these functions here. But to do so is actually pretty straightforward and most
such functions will be well documented with their associated manual pages and
vignettes[3,4,10,12]. As usual, you can see the help page for any function
right inside of R.
If you plan to make use of these kinds of functions then you should expect to
consult the associated documentation first. These kinds of functions tend to
have a lot of arguments and most of them also require that their input data
meet some fairly specific criteria. Finally, you should know that even after
you have succeeded at creating an annotation package, you will also have to
make use of the install.packages() function (with the repos argument=NULL) to
install whatever package source directory has just been created.
# Important considerations
The bioconductor project represents a very large and active codebase from an
active and engaged community. Because of this, you should expect that the
software described in this walkthrough will change over time and often in
dramatic ways. As an example, the getSeq function that is described in this
chapter is expected to a big overhaul in the coming months. When this happens
the older function will be deprecated for a full release cycle (6 months) and
then labeled as defunct for another release cycle before it is removed. This
cycle is in place so that active users can be warned about what is happening
and where they should look for the appropriate replacement functionality. But
obviously, this system cannot warn end users if they have not been vigilant
about updating their software to the latest version. So please take the time to
always update your software to the latest version.
To stay abreast of new developments users are encouraged to
explore the [bioconductor website]( which contains
many current walkthroughs and vignettes. Also visit the
[support site]( where you can ask questions
and engage in discussions.
# sessionInfo()
Package versions used in this tutorial:
# Acknowledgments
Research reported in this chapter was supported by the National Human Genome
Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number
U41HG004059 and by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of
Health under Award Number U24CA180996. We also want to thank the numerous
institutions who produced and maintained the data that is used for generating
and updating the annotation resources described here.
# References
1. Wolfgang Huber, Vincent J Carey, Robert Gentleman, Simon Anders, Marc
Carlson, Benilton S Carvalho, Hector Corrada Bravo, Sean Davis, Laurent Gatto,
Thomas Girke, Raphael Gottardo, Florian Hahne, Kasper D Hansen, Rafael A
Irizarry, Michael Lawrence, Michael I Love, James MacDonald, Valerie Obenchain,
Andrzej K Ole&#347;, Herv&eacute; Pag&egrave;s, Alejandro Reyes, Paul Shannon,
Gordon K Smyth, Dan Tenenbaum, Levi Waldron & Martin Morgan (2015)
Orchestrating high-throughput genomic analysis with Bioconductor Nature Methods
2. Pages H, Carlson M, Falcon S and Li N. AnnotationDbi: Annotation Database
Interface. R package version 1.30.0.
3. M. Carlson, H. Pages, P. Aboyoun, S. Falcon, M. Morgan, D. Sarkar, M.
Lawrence GenomicFeatures: Tools for making and manipulating transcript centric
annotations version 1.19.38.
4. Lawrence M, Huber W, Pag&egrave;s H, Aboyoun P, Carlson M, Gentleman R,
Morgan M and Carey V (2013). Software for Computing and Annotating Genomic
Ranges. PLoS Computational Biology, 9.,
5. Steffen Durinck, Wolfgang Huber biomaRt: Interface to BioMart databases
(e.g. Ensembl, COSMIC ,Wormbase and Gramene) version 2.23.5.
6. Durinck S, Spellman P, Birney E and Huber W (2009). Mapping identifiers for
the integration of genomic datasets with the R/Bioconductor package biomaRt.
Nature Protocols, 4, pp. 1184-1191.
7. Durinck S, Moreau Y, Kasprzyk A, Davis S, De Moor B, Brazma A and Huber W
(2005). BioMart and Bioconductor: a powerful link between biological databases
and microarray data analysis. Bioinformatics, 21, pp. 3439-3440.
8. Morgan M, Carlson M, Tenenbaum D and Arora S. AnnotationHub: Client to
access AnnotationHub resources. R package version 2.0.1.
9. Carlson M, Pages H, Morgan M and Obenchain V. OrganismDbi: Software to
enable the smooth interfacing of different database packages. R package version
10. Pages H. BSgenome: Infrastructure for Biostrings-based genome data
packages. R package version 1.36.0.
11. Pages H, Aboyoun P, Gentleman R and DebRoy S. Biostrings: String objects
representing biological sequences, and matching algorithms. R package version
12. Carlson M, and Pages H. AnnotationForge: Code for Building Annotation
Database Packages. R package version 1.10.0.
# Answers for exercises
## Exercise 1:
The 1st thing you need to do is look for thing from UCSC
ahs <- query(ah, "UCSC")
Then you can look for Genome values that match 'hg19' and a species that matches 'Homo sapiens'.
ahs <- subset(ahs, ahs$genome=='hg19')
ahs <- subset(ahs, ahs$species=='Homo sapiens')
You might notice that the last two filtering steps are redundant (IOW doing the
1st of them is the same as doing both of them.) If this were not the case, we
might suspect that there was a problem with the metadata.
## Exercise 2:
This pulls down the oreganno annotations. Which are described on the
UCSC site thusly: "This track displays literature-curated regulatory
regions, transcription factor binding sites, and regulatory
polymorphisms from ORegAnno (Open Regulatory Annotation). For more
detailed information on a particular regulatory element, follow the
link to ORegAnno from the details page."
ahs <- query(ah, 'oreganno')
oreg <- ahs[['AH5087']]
## Exercise 3:
keys <- "MSX2"
columns <- c("ENTREZID", "CHR")
select(, keys, columns, keytype="SYMBOL")
## Exercise 4:
## 1st get all the gene symbols
orgSymbols <- keys(, keytype="SYMBOL")
## and then use that to get all gene symbols matched to all entrez gene IDs
egr <- select(, keys=orgSymbols, "ENTREZID", "SYMBOL")
## VS:
## So lets trap these symbols that are redundant and look more closely...
redund <- egr$SYMBOL
badSymbols <- redund[duplicated(redund)]
select(, badSymbols, "ENTREZID", "SYMBOL")
## Exercise 5:
So to retrieve this information using select you need to do it like this:
res1 <- select(TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene,
keys(TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene, keytype="TXID"),
columns=c("GENEID","TXNAME","TXCHROM"), keytype="TXID")
And to do it using transcripts you do it like this:
res2 <- transcripts(TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene,
columns = c("gene_id","tx_name"))
Notice that in the 2nd case we don't have to ask for the chromosome,
as transcripts() returns a GRanges object, so the chromosome will
automatically be returned as part of the object.
## Exercise 6:
res <- transcripts(TxDb.Athaliana.BioMart.plantsmart22, columns = c("gene_id"))
You will notice that the gene ids for this package are TAIR locus IDs
and are NOT entrez gene IDs like what you saw in the
TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene package. It's important to always
pay attention to the kind of gene id is being used by the TxDb
you are looking at.
## Exercise 7:
```{r eval=FALSE}
keys <- keys(Homo.sapiens, keytype="TXID")
res1 <- select(Homo.sapiens,
keys= keys,
columns=c("SYMBOL","TXSTART","TXCHROM"), keytype="TXID")
And to do it using transcripts you do it like this:
res2 <- transcripts(Homo.sapiens, columns="SYMBOL")
## Exercise 8:
## You might also want to look at this:
transcripts(Homo.sapiens, columns=c("SYMBOL","CHRLOC"))
The key difference is that the TXSTART refers to the start of a
transcript and originates in the TxDb object from the
TxDb.Hsapiens.UCSC.hg19.knownGene package, while the CHRLOC refers to
the same thing but originates in the OrgDb object from the package. The point of origin is significant because the
TxDb object represents a transcriptome from UCSC and the OrgDb
is primarily gene centric data that originates at NCBI. The upshot is
that CHRLOC will not have as many regions represented as TXSTART,
since there has to be an official gene for there to even be a record.
The CHRLOC data is also locked in for as data for hg19,
whereas you can swap in a different TxDb object to match the
genome you are using to make it hg18 etc. For these reasons, we
strongly recommend using TXSTART instead of CHRLOC. Howeverm CHRLOC
still remains in the org packages for historical reasons.
## Exercise 9:
To find the keys that match, make use of the pattern and column arguments.
xk = head(keys(Homo.sapiens, keytype="ENTREZID", pattern="X", column="SYMBOL"))
select verifies the results
select(Homo.sapiens, xk, "SYMBOL", "ENTREZID")
## Exercise 10:
```{r eval=FALSE}
## Get the transcript ranges grouped by gene
txby <- transcriptsBy(Homo.sapiens, by="gene")
## look up the entrez ID for the gene symbol 'PTEN'
select(Homo.sapiens, keys='PTEN', columns='ENTREZID', keytype='SYMBOL')
## subset that genes transcripts
geneOfInterest <- txby[["5728"]]
## extract the sequence
res <- getSeq(Hsapiens, geneOfInterest)
## Exercise 11:
ensembl <- useMart("ensembl",dataset="hsapiens_gene_ensembl")
getBM(attributes=c('go_id', 'entrezgene'),
filters = 'entrezgene',
values = ids, mart = ensembl)
## Exercise 12:
select(, keys=ids, columns="GO", keytype="ENTREZID")
When this exercise was written, there was a different number of GO
terms returned from biomaRt than from This may not
always be true in the future though as both of these resources are
updated. It is expected however that this web service, (which is
updated continuously) will fall in and out of sync with the package (which is updated twice a year). This is an
important difference as each approach has different advantages and
disadvantages. The advantage to updating continuously is that you
always have the very latest annotations which are frequently different
for something like GO terms. The advantage to using a package is that
the results are frozen to a release of Bioconductor. And this can help
you to get the same answers that you get today (reproducibility), a
few years from now.
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