estimateDivergence {MethylIT}R Documentation

Information divergence estimator in respect to a reference sample


Wrapper of 'InfDiv' function to operate on list of GRanges


estimateDivergence(ref, indiv, Bayesian = FALSE, columns = NULL,
  min.coverage = 4, min.meth = 4, min.umeth = 0,
  high.coverage = NULL, percentile = 0.999, num.cores = 1L,
  tasks = 0L, meth.level = FALSE, verbose = TRUE, ...)



The GRanges object of the reference individual that will be used in the estimation of the information divergence.


A list of GRanges objects from the individuals that will be used in the estimation of the information divergence.


Logical. Whether to perform the estimations based on posterior estimations of methylation levels.


Vector of one or two integer numbers denoting the indexes of the columns where the methylated and unmethylated read counts are found or, if meth.level = TRUE, the columns corresponding to the methylation levels. If columns = NULL and meth.level = FALSE, then columns = c(1,2) is assumed. If columns = NULL and meth.level = TRUE, then columns = 1 is assumed.


An integer or an integer vector of length 2. Cytosine sites where the coverage in both samples, 'x' and 'y', are less than 'min.coverage' are discarded. The cytosine site is preserved, however, if the coverage is greater than 'min.coverage'in at least one sample. If 'min.coverage' is an integer vector, then the corresponding min coverage is applied to each sample.


An integer or an integer vector of length 2. Cytosine sites where the numbers of read counts of methylated cytosine in both samples, '1' and '2', are less than 'min.meth' are discarded. If 'min.meth' is an integer vector, then the corresponding min number of reads is applied to each sample. Default is min.meth = 4.


An integer or an integer vector of length 2. Min number of reads to consider cytosine position. Specifically cytosine positions where (uC <= min.umeth) & (mC > 0) & (mC <= min.meth[1]) hold will be removed, where mC and uC stand for the numbers of methylated and unmethylated reads. Default is min.umeth = 0.


An integer for read counts. Cytosine sites having higher coverage than this are discarded.


Threshold to remove the outliers from each file and all files stacked.


The number of cores to use, i.e. at most how many child processes will be run simultaneously (see 'bplapply' function from BiocParallel package).


integer(1). The number of tasks per job. value must be a scalar integer >= 0L. In this documentation a job is defined as a single call to a function, such as bplapply, bpmapply etc. A task is the division of the X argument into chunks. When tasks == 0 (default), X is divided as evenly as possible over the number of workers (see MulticoreParam from BiocParallel package).


Logic. Whether methylation levels are given in place of counts.


if TRUE, prints the function log to stdout


Additional parameters for 'uniqueGRanges' function.


For the current version, the Information divergence of methylation levels is estimated based on Hellinger divergence (H). If read counts are provided, then Hellinger divergence is computed as given in the first formula from Theorem 1 from reference 1. In the present case:

H = 2*(n[1] + 1)*(n[2] + 1)*((sqrt(p[1]) - sqrt(p[2]))^2 + (sqrt(1-p[1]) - sqrt(1-p[2]))^2)/(n[1] + n[2] + 2)

where n[1] and n[2] are the coverage for the control and treatment, respectively. Notice that each row from the matrix of counts correspond to a single cytosine position and has four values corresponding to "mC1" and "uC1" (control), and mC2" and "uC2" for treatment.

According with the above equation, to estimate Hellinger divergence, not only the methylation levels are considered in the estimation of H, but also the control and treatment coverage at each given cytosine site. At this point, it is worthy to do mention that if the reference sample is derived with function poolFromGRlist using the 'sum' of read counts to conpute a methylation pool, then 'min.coverage' parameter value must be used to prevent an over estimation of the divergence for low coverage cytosines sites. For example, if a reference sample is derived as the methylation pool of read count sum from 3 individuals and we want to consider only methylation sites with minimum coverage of 4, then we can set min.coverage = c(12, 4), where the number 12 (3 x 4) is the minimum coverage requested for the each cytosine site in the reference sample.

If the methylation levels are provided in place of counts, then Hellinger divergence is computed as:

H = (sqrt(p[1]) - sqrt(p[2]))^2 + (sqrt(1 - p[1]) - sqrt(1 - p[2]))^2

This formula assumes that the probability vectors derived from the methylation levels (p_ij) p_j = c(p_ij, 1 - p_ij) (see function 'estimateHellingerDiv') are an unbiased estimation of the expected one. The function applies a pairwise filtering after building a single GRanges from the two GRanges objects. Experimentally available cytosine sites are paired using the function 'uniqueGRanges'.

It is important to observe that several filtering conditions are provided to select biological meaningful cytosine positions, which prevent to carry experimental errors in the dowstream analyses. By filtering the read count we try to remove bad quality data, which would be in the edge of the experimental error originated by the BS-seq sequencing. It is responsability of the user to check whether cytosine positions used in the analysis are biological meaningful. For example, a cytosine position with counts mC1 = 10 and uC1 = 20 in the 'ref' sample and mC2 = 1 & uC2 = 0 in an 'indv' sample will lead to methylation levels p1 = 0.333 and p2 = 1, respectively, and TV = p2 - p1 = 0.667, which apparently indicates a hypermethylated site. However, there are not enough reads supporting p2 = 1. A Bayesian estimation of TV will reveal that this site would be, in fact, hypomethylated. So, the best practice will be the removing of sites like that. This particular case is removed under the default settings: min.coverage = 4, min.meth = 4, and min.umeth = 0 (see example for function uniqueGRfilterByCov, called by estimateDivergence).


An object from "infDiv" class with the four columns of counts, the information divergence, and additional columns: 1) The original matrix of methylated (c_i) and unmathylated (t_i) read counts from control (i=1) and treatment (i=2) samples. 2) p1" and "p2": methylation levels for control and treatment, respectively. 3) "bay.TV": total variation TV = p2 - p1. 4) "TV": total variation based on simple counts: TV=c1/(c1+t1)-c2/(c2+t2). 5) "hdiv": Hellinger divergence. If Bayesian = TRUE, the results are based on the posterior estimations of methylation levels.


Robersy Sanchez


    num.samples <- 250
    x <- data.frame(chr = "chr1", start = 1:num.samples,
                    end = 1:num.samples,strand = '*',
                    mC = rnbinom(size = num.samples, mu = 4, n = 500),
                    uC = rnbinom(size = num.samples, mu = 4, n = 500))
    y <- data.frame(chr = "chr1", start = 1:num.samples,
                    end = 1:num.samples, strand = '*',
                    mC = rnbinom(size = num.samples, mu = 4, n = 500),
                    uC = rnbinom(size = num.samples, mu = 4, n = 500))
    x <- makeGRangesFromDataFrame(x, keep.extra.columns = TRUE)
    y <- makeGRangesFromDataFrame(y, keep.extra.columns = TRUE)
    HD <- estimateDivergence(ref = x, indiv = list(y))

[Package MethylIT version 0.3.1 ]