Snapshot: a package for clustering and visualizing epigenetic history during cell differentiation

Guanjue Xiang, Belinda Giardine, Lin An, Chen Sun, Cheryl A. Keller, Elisabeth F. Heuston, Stacie M. Anderson, Martha Kirby, David Bodine, Yu Zhang, Ross C. Hardison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Epigenetic modification of chromatin plays a pivotal role in regulating gene expression during cell differentiation. The scale and complexity of epigenetic data pose significant challenges for biologists to identify the regulatory events controlling cell differentiation. Results: To reduce the complexity, we developed a package, called Snapshot, for clustering and visualizing candidate cis-regulatory elements (cCREs) based on their epigenetic signals during cell differentiation. This package first introduces a binarized indexing strategy for clustering the cCREs. It then provides a series of easily interpretable figures for visualizing the signal and epigenetic state patterns of the cCREs clusters during the cell differentiation. It can also use different hierarchies of cell types to highlight the epigenetic history specific to any particular cell lineage. We demonstrate the utility of Snapshot using data from a consortium project for ValIdated Systematic IntegratiON (VISION) of epigenomic data in hematopoiesis. Conclusion: The package Snapshot can identify all distinct clusters of genomic locations with unique epigenetic signal patterns during cell differentiation. It outperforms other methods in terms of interpreting and reproducing the identified cCREs clusters. The package of Snapshot is available at GitHub:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102
JournalBMC bioinformatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics

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