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Selene: a PyTorch-based deep learning library for sequence data


To enable the application of deep learning in biology, we present Selene (, a PyTorch-based deep learning library for fast and easy development, training, and application of deep learning model architectures for any biological sequence data. We demonstrate on DNA sequences how Selene allows researchers to easily train a published architecture on new data, develop and evaluate a new architecture, and use a trained model to answer biological questions of interest.

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Fig. 1: Overview of Selene.
Fig. 2: Visualizations generated by using Selene to train and apply a model to sequences.
Fig. 3: Using Selene to train a model and obtain model predictions for variants in an Alzheimer’s GWAS study.

Code availability

Selene is open-source software (license BSD 3-Clause Clear). Project homepage: GitHub: Archived version:

Data availability

Cistrome14, Cistrome file ID 33545, measurements from GSM970258: ENCODE21 and Roadmap Epigenomics22 chromatin profiles: files listed in Supplementary Table 1 of ref. 4. IGAP age at onset survival16,17: (P-values-only file). The case studies used processed datasets from these sources. They can be downloaded at the following Zenodo links: Cistrome,; ENCODE and Roadmap Epigenomics chromatin profiles,; IGAP age at onset survival, Source data for Figs. 2 and 3 are available online.


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The authors acknowledge all members of the Troyanskaya lab for helpful discussions. In addition, the authors thank D. Simon for setting up the website and automating updates to the site. The authors are pleased to acknowledge that this work was performed using the high-performance computing resources at Simons Foundation and the TIGRESS computer center at Princeton University. This work was supported by NIH grants R01HG005998, U54HL117798, R01GM071966, and T32HG003284; HHS grant HHSN272201000054C; and Simons Foundation grant 395506, all to O.G.T. O.G.T. is a CIFAR fellow.

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Authors and Affiliations



K.M.C and J.Z. conceived the Selene library. K.M.C. and E.M.C. designed, implemented, and documented Selene. K.M.C. performed the analyses described in the manuscript. O.G.T. supervised the project. K.M.C., E.M.C., and O.G.T wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Olga G. Troyanskaya.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Chen, K.M., Cofer, E.M., Zhou, J. et al. Selene: a PyTorch-based deep learning library for sequence data. Nat Methods 16, 315–318 (2019).

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