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  1. 1. PhastConsElements
  2. 2. phastCons

The phastCons database annotates blocks of the genome with conservation scores using the phastCons algorithm (http://compgen.bscb.cornell.edu/phast/help-pages/phastCons.txt). The data that we are using was downloaded from the UCSC genome browser's phastCons46way track that contains conservation data for vertebrates.

PhastConsElements represents the most conserved regions so it covers a significantly percent of genome than the PhastCons database.

1.  PhastConsElements

vtools show annotation PhastConsElements
Description:            PhastCons Conservation Scores
Database type:          range
Number of records:      5,163,775
Distinct ranges:        5,163,775
Reference genome hg19:  chr, start, end

Field:                  chr
Type:                   string
Missing entries:        0
Unique Entries:         88

Field:                  start
Type:                   integer
Comment:                Start position in chromosome
Missing entries:        0
Unique Entries:         5,093,542
Range:                  1 - 249231389

Field:                  end
Type:                   integer
Comment:                End position in chromosome
Missing entries:        0
Unique Entries:         5,093,841
Range:                  12 - 249231641

Field:                  name
Type:                   string
Comment:                Name of conserved region
Missing entries:        0
Unique Entries:         4,358

Field:                  score
Type:                   integer
Comment:                Phast cons score from 0 to 1000
Missing entries:        0
Unique Entries:         580
Range:                  177 - 1000

2.  phastCons

The following example shows how you can use phastCons to annotate your variants with the average conservation score for the genomic block containing your variant. phastCons.sum_data/phastCons.count would give you this average score - see below to interpret these fields. This value could then be used to rank or filter your variants baed on the conservation score.

vtools output variant chr pos ref alt phastCons.sum_data/phastCons.count  -l 10
1	10434	-	C	NA
1	10440	C	-	NA
1	54789	C	-	0.0587041015625
1	54790	-	T	0.0587041015625
1	63738	ACT	-	0.330704101563
1	63738	ACT	CTA	0.330704101563
1	81963	-	AA	0.161579101562
1	82134	A	-	0.161579101562
1	82135	-	AAAAAAAAAAAAAA	0.161579101562
1	83120	A	-	0.136174804688

Below is a description of the phastCons fields.

vtools show annotation phastCons
Annotation database phastCons (version hg19_20110909)
Description: PhastCons Conservation Scores
Database type: range
Number of records: 2,808,750
Number of distinct ranges: 2,808,750
Reference genome hg19: ['chr', 'start', 'end']

Field:           chr
Type:            string
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  92

Field:           start
Type:            integer
Comment:         Start position in chromosome
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  2,785,871
Range:           1 - 249236922

Field:           end
Type:            integer
Comment:         End position in chromosome
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  2,785,911
Range:           148 - 249237548

Field:           name
Type:            string
Comment:         Name of conserved region
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  2,808,750

Field:           count
Type:            integer
Comment:         Number of values in this block
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  1,024
Range:           1 - 1024

Field:           valid_count
Type:            integer
Comment:         Number of valid values in this block
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  1,024
Range:           1 - 1024

Field:           lower_limit
Type:            string
Comment:         Lowest value in this block
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  694

Field:           data_range
Type:            string
Comment:         Spread of values in this block.  lower_limit + data_range =
                 upper_limit
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  1,001

Field:           sum_data
Type:            string
Comment:         Sum of values in this block (can be used for calculate average
                 and stddev of conservation scores)
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  417,533

Field:           sum_squares
Type:            string
Comment:         Sum of values squared in this block (can be used for
                 calculating stddev of conservation scores)
Missing entries: 0 
Unique entries:  1,501,657