Bio::ViennaNGS::Util - Utility routines for Next-Generation Sequencing data analysis


  use Bio::ViennaNGS::Util;

  # make bigWig from BED or BAM
  $type = "bam";
  $strand = "+";
  $bwfile = bed_or_bam2bw($type,$infile,$cs_in,$strand,$destdir,$wantnorm,$size_p,$scale,$logfile);

  # make bigBed from BED
  my $bb = bed2bigBed($bed_in,$cs_in,$destdir,$logfile);

  # sort a BED file 


Bio::ViennaNGS::Util is a collection of utility subroutines for building efficient Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) data analysis pipelines.



Creates stranded, normalized BigWig coverage profiles from strand-specific BAM or BED files (provided via $infile). The routine expects a file type 'bam' or 'bed' via the $type argument. $chromsizes is the chromosome.sizes files, $strand is either "+" or "-" and $dest contains the output path for results. For normlization of bigWig profiles, additional attributes are required: $want_norm triggers normalization with values 0 or 1. $size is the number of fragments/elements in the BAM or BED file and $scale gives the number to which data is normalized (ie. every bedGraph entry is multiplied by a factor ($scale/$size). $log is expected to contain either the full path and file name of log file or 'undef'. The routine returns the full file name of the newly generated bigWig file.

While this routine can handle non-straned BAM/BED files (in which case $strand should be set to "+" and hence all coverage profiles will be created with a positive sign, even if they map to the negative strand), usage of strand-specific data is highly recommended. For BAM file, this is easily achieved by calling the bam_split routine (see above) prior to this one, thus creating dedicated BAM files containing exclusively reads mapped to the positive or negative strand, respectively.

It is important to know that this routine does not extract reads mapped to either strand from a non-stranded BAM/BED file if the $strand argument is given. It rather adjusts the sign of all mapped reads/features in a BAM/BED file and then creates bigWig files. See the split_bam routine for extracting reads mapped to either strand.

Stranded bigWigs can easily be visualized via TrackHubs in the UCSC Genome Browser. Internally, the conversion from BAM/BED to bigWig is accomplished via two third-party applications: genomeCoverageBed and bedGraphToBigWig. Intermediate bedGraph files are removed automatically once the bigWig files are ready.


Sorts BED file $infile with bedtools sort. $dest and outfile name path and filename of the resulting sorted BED file. $rm_infile is either 1 or 0 and indicated whether the original $infile should be deleted. $log holds path and name of log file.


Creates an indexed bigBed file from a BED file. $infile is the BED file to be transformed, $chromsizes is the chromosome.sizes file and $dest contains the output path for results. $log is the name of a log file, or undef if no logging is reuqired. A '.bed', '.bed6' or '.bed12' suffix in $infile will be replaced by '.bb' in the output. Else, the name of the output bigBed file will be the value of $infile plus '.bb' appended.

The conversion from BED to bigBed is done by a third-party utility (bedToBigBed), which is executed by IPC::Cmd.


Takes a reference to an array and uniques entries via hash copy. Returns a reference to an array containing unique values.


Takes a reference to a sequence array and the length of the desired kmer. Counts occurences of kmers of given length and returns a reference to a hash containing the kmer as key and occurences as value.


Takes the name of the desired species (e.g. hg19, mm9, ..) and retrieves annotated chromosomes and their sizes from UCSC. This methods returns a reference to a hash containing chromosomes as kays and their corresponding size as value. Either uses the fetchChromSizes util of the UCSC bin collection or alternatively and if mysql is available via a mysql command.


Takes the path to one or more directories, converts them to an OS specific path and creates directories.


Takes the path to one or more directories, converts them to an OS specific path and removes directories.


Bio::Perl >= 1.00690001

Bio::ViennaNGS uses third-party tools for computing intersections of BED files: bedtools intersect from the BEDtools suite is used to compute overlaps and bedtools sort is used to sort BED output files. Make sure that those third-party utilities are available on your system, and that hey can be found and executed by the Perl interpreter. We recommend installing the latest version of BEDtools on your system.

Examples for using most of the provided methods can be found at ViennaNGS::Tutorial.


Michael T. Wolfinger <>
Joerg Fallmann <>


Copyright (C) 2015-2017 Michael T. Wolfinger <>

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself, either Perl version 5.10.0 or, at your option, any later version of Perl 5 you may have available.

This software is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.