Comparative analysis of commonly used peak calling programs for chip-seq analysis

Hyeongrin Jeon, Hyunji Lee, Byunghee Kang, Insoon Jang, Tae Young Roh

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11 Scopus citations


Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high-throughput DNA sequencing (ChIP-Seq) is a powerful technology to profile the location of proteins of interest on a whole-ge-nome scale. To identify the enrichment location of proteins, many programs and algorithms have been proposed. However, none of the commonly used peak calling programs could accurately explain the binding features of target proteins detected by ChIP-Seq. Here, pub-licly available data on 12 histone modifications, including H3K4ac/me1/me2/me3, H3K9ac/ me3, H3K27ac/me3, H3K36me3, H3K56ac, and H3K79me1/me2, generated from a human embryonic stem cell line (H1), were profiled with five peak callers (CisGenome, MACS1, MACS2, PeakSeq, and SISSRs). The performance of the peak calling programs was com-pared in terms of reproducibility between replicates, examination of enriched regions to variable sequencing depths, the specificity-to-noise signal, and sensitivity of peak predic-tion. There were no major differences among peak callers when analyzing point source his-tone modifications. The peak calling results from histone modifications with low fidelity, such as H3K4ac, H3K56ac, and H3K79me1/me2, showed low performance in all parame-ters, which indicates that their peak positions might not be located accurately. Our comparative results could provide a helpful guide to choose a suitable peak calling program for specific histone modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere42
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalGenomics and Informatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Korea Genome Organization.


  • ChIP-Seq
  • Histone modification
  • Human embryonic stem cell
  • Peak calling program


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