GIGGLE: a search engine for large-scale integrated genome analysis


GIGGLE is a genomics search engine that identifies and ranks the significance of genomic loci shared between query features and thousands of genome interval files. GIGGLE ( scales to billions of intervals and is over three orders of magnitude faster than existing methods. Its speed extends the accessibility and utility of resources such as ENCODE, Roadmap Epigenomics, and GTEx by facilitating data integration and hypothesis generation.

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Figure 1: Indexing, searching, performance, and score calibration.
Figure 2: Visualization of GIGGLE scores from various searches.


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We are grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and comments. This research was funded by US National Institutes of Health awards to R.M.L. (K99HG009532) and A.R.Q. (R01HG006693, R01GM124355, U24CA209999).

Author information




R.M.L. conceived and designed the study, developed GIGGLE, and wrote the manuscript. B.S.P. developed the GIGGLE score and the PYTHON and GO APIs. T.D. developed the web interface. G.T.M. provided input in the development of the web interface. J.G. conceived and designed the ChIP-seq experiment. A.R.Q. conceived and designed the study and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Ryan M Layer or Aaron R Quinlan.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Integrated supplementary information

Supplementary Figure 1 GIGGLE indexing process.

(a) Three example annotation sets shown graphically (left) and encoded in files (right) by start position, end position, and ID. (b) GIGGLE's bulk indexing process. (c) The GIGGLE interval search process.

Supplementary Figure 2 The GIGGLE scores for all pairwise combinations of the ChIP-seq datasets for the MCF-7 cell line.

Group 1 highlights the relationship between CTCF, RAD21, and STAG1. Group 2 highlights ERS1, FOXA1, GATA3, and EPS300. Group 3 shows an unexpected relationship between H2AFX and GREB1.

Supplementary Figure 3 A web interface that integrates data from of Roadmap and the UCSC genome browser.

(a) Users specify either a single interval or file to upload as the query, and the server responds with the GIGGLE results from an index in a heatmap. In this case the index is of CHROMHMM prediction from Roadmap. The color of each cell indicates the GIGGLE score, and users can click on a cell (e.g., Myoblast enhancers, marked in red) for more information. (b) When a cell is selected by the user, a window opens that contains the list of intervals in that particular Roadmap cell type/genome state annotation that overlap the query. Each interval is a link that can be followed (e.g., chr1:33642000-33642800, marked in red) for more information. (c) When an interval is selected, that interval becomes a query to a GIGGLE index of the UCSC genome browser tracks. The result gives the set of tracks that contain an interval that overlaps the query, and the web interface opens a window with a “smartview” where only those tracks with overlaps are displayed.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Figures 1–3 and Supplementary Tables 1–4 (PDF 2119 kb)

Life Sciences Reporting Summary (PDF 128 kb)

Supplementary Data 1

Data used to generate Figure 1. (ZIP 133 kb)

Supplementary Data 2

Data used to generate Figure 2. (ZIP 34860 kb)

Supplementary Data 3

Cell line, tissue, and trait names from Figure 1; accession numbers from Figures 1 and 2 and Supplementary Figure 2. (XLSX 41 kb)

Supplementary Software

GIGGLE source code and experiment scripts. (ZIP 3041 kb)

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Layer, R., Pedersen, B., DiSera, T. et al. GIGGLE: a search engine for large-scale integrated genome analysis. Nat Methods 15, 123–126 (2018).

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