Variant Tools supports build hg18 and hg19 of the human reference genome natively. If your data uses a different reference genome, you will need to provide your own fasta files, which can usually be downloaded from resources such as Illumina iGenomes. The reference genome needs to be converted to a binary format (crr) before it can be used, and need to be stored under the project directory, or under $local_resource/reference (usually ~/.variant_tools/reference). This tutorial shows you how to use the mm10 mouse genome for variant tools.

Getting the reference genome and create a .crr file.

The first step is to build a .crr file from fasta files of the reference genome using command vtools admin --fasta2crr. This command accepts either local fasta files or URLs to one or more fasta files. For example, you can use the following command to create a .crr file for build mm10 of the mouse reference genome.

% vtools admin --fasta2crr \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr1.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr2.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr3.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr4.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr5.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr6.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr7.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr8.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr9.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr10.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr11.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr12.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr13.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr14.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr15.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr16.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr17.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr18.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chr19.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chrX.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chrY.fa.gz \
	 ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/chromosomes/chrM.fa.gz \
	 mm10.crr

After you have successfully created this file, you can put it in the project directory, or under $local_resource/reference so that it can be shared by multiple projects. After this step is done, you can specify the reference genome to parameter --build of commands such as vtools init and vtools import.

Annotation databases

Annotation databases for non-human reference genomes are currently scarce so you will most likely need to build your own annotation databases. Fortunately, most of the time you only need to modify the corresponding annotation database of the human genome. For example, you can create a ref seq annotation database by changing the header of refGene-hg19_xxx.ann from

[linked fields]
hg19=chr, txStart, txEnd

[data sources]
anno_type=range
description=Known human protein-coding and non-protein-coding genes taken from the NCBI RNA reference sequences collection (RefSeq).
version=hg19_20130904
source_url=ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/hg19/database/refGene.txt.gz
direct_url=annoDB/refGene-hg19_20130904.DB.gz   f3ae8c8baf11b1e32344ee3c7b64edb6
source_type=txt

to

[linked fields]
mm10=chr, txStart, txEnd

[data sources]
anno_type=range
description=Known mouse protein-coding and non-protein-coding genes taken from the NCBI RNA reference sequences collection (RefSeq).
version=mm10_20141201
source_url=ftp://hgdownload.cse.ucsc.edu/goldenPath/mm10/database/refGene.txt.gz
direct_url=annoDB/refGene-mm10_20141201.DB.gz
source_type=txt

Note that the ref seq annotation database for mm10 refGene-mm10_20141201 is already available from the variant tools repository.