Measuring the reproducibility and quality of Hi-C data

Galip Gürkan Yardımcı, Hakan Ozadam, Michael E.G. Sauria, Oana Ursu, Koon Kiu Yan, Tao Yang, Abhijit Chakraborty, Arya Kaul, Bryan R. Lajoie, Fan Song, Ye Zhan, Ferhat Ay, Mark Gerstein, Anshul Kundaje, Qunhua Li, James Taylor, Feng Yue, Job Dekker, William S. Noble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Background: Hi-C is currently the most widely used assay to investigate the 3D organization of the genome and to study its role in gene regulation, DNA replication, and disease. However, Hi-C experiments are costly to perform and involve multiple complex experimental steps; thus, accurate methods for measuring the quality and reproducibility of Hi-C data are essential to determine whether the output should be used further in a study. Results: Using real and simulated data, we profile the performance of several recently proposed methods for assessing reproducibility of population Hi-C data, including HiCRep, GenomeDISCO, HiC-Spector, and QuASAR-Rep. By explicitly controlling noise and sparsity through simulations, we demonstrate the deficiencies of performing simple correlation analysis on pairs of matrices, and we show that methods developed specifically for Hi-C data produce better measures of reproducibility. We also show how to use established measures, such as the ratio of intra- to interchromosomal interactions, and novel ones, such as QuASAR-QC, to identify low-quality experiments. Conclusions: In this work, we assess reproducibility and quality measures by varying sequencing depth, resolution and noise levels in Hi-C data from 13 cell lines, with two biological replicates each, as well as 176 simulated matrices. Through this extensive validation and benchmarking of Hi-C data, we describe best practices for reproducibility and quality assessment of Hi-C experiments. We make all software publicly available at to facilitate adoption in the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number57
JournalGenome biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 19 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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