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bcftools call (version 1.15.1+galaxy3)
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bcftools call

SNP/indel variant calling from VCF/BCF. To be used in conjunction with samtools mpileup.

  • This command replaces the former "bcftools view" caller.
  • Some of the original functionality has been temporarily lost in the process of transition to htslib, but will be added back on popular demand.
  • The original calling model can be invoked with the -c option.

The novel-rate option can be set to modify the likelihood of novel mutation for constrained -C trio calling. The trio genotype calling maximizes likelihood of a particular combination of genotypes for father, mother and the child P(F=i,M=j,C=k) = P(unconstrained) * Pn + P(constrained) * (1-Pn). By providing three values, the mutation rate Pn is set explicitly for SNPs, deletions and insertions, respectively. If two values are given, the first is interpreted as the mutation rate of SNPs and the second is used to calculate the mutation rate of indels according to their length as Pn=float*exp(-a-b*len), where a=22.8689, b=0.2994 for insertions and a=21.9313, b=0.2856 for deletions [pubmed:23975140]. If only one value is given, the same mutation rate Pn is used for SNPs and indels.

Region Selections

Regions can be specified in a VCF, BED, or tab-delimited file (the default). The columns of the tab-delimited file are: CHROM, POS, and, optionally, POS_TO, where positions are 1-based and inclusive. Uncompressed files are stored in memory, while bgzip-compressed and tabix-indexed region files are streamed. Note that sequence names must match exactly, "chr20" is not the same as "20". Also note that chromosome ordering in FILE will be respected, the VCF will be processed in the order in which chromosomes first appear in FILE. However, within chromosomes, the VCF will always be processed in ascending genomic coordinate order no matter what order they appear in FILE. Note that overlapping regions in FILE can result in duplicated out of order positions in the output. This option requires indexed VCF/BCF files.


Similar to regions, but the next position is accessed by streaming the whole VCF/BCF rather than using the tbi/csi index. Both regions and targets options can be applied simultaneously: regions uses the index to jump to a region and targets discards positions which are not in the targets. Unlike regions, targets can be prefixed with "^" to request logical complement. For example, "^X,Y,MT" indicates that sequences X, Y and MT should be skipped. Yet another difference between the two is that regions checks both start and end positions of indels, whereas targets checks start positions only.

For the bcftools call command, with the option -C alleles, third column of the targets file must be comma-separated list of alleles, starting with the reference allele. Note that the file must be compressed and index. Such a file can be easily created from a VCF using:

bcftools query -f'%CHROM\t%POS\t%REF,%ALT\n' file.vcf | bgzip -c > als.tsv.gz && tabix -s1 -b2 -e2 als.tsv.gz