BLAST Ring Image Generator (BRIG)

BRIG tutorial 1: Whole genome comparisons

To learn how to generate more complex images please read the BRIG manual available at:

For this walkthrough we will be comparing an E. coli genome with five other E. coli and mapping the read coverage from the underlying genome assembly onto the same image. Users will need, which is available from the BRIG website: This contains all the genomes and files needed to follow along with this walk through. Unzip it somewhere easily accessible, like the home directory or desktop.

The walk through will work out of the unzipped folder. The walk through and related figures will use C:\BRIGEXAMPLE as that location.

Step 1: Load in sequences

To keep the final image consistent with the walk through, please open “ExampleProfile.xml” from the unzipped folder. This file configures BRIG to the same image ā€ˇsettings in the walk through.

  1. First, set BRIGExample.fna as the reference sequence.
  2. Set unzipped BRIG-Example folder\genomes as the query sequence folder.
  3. Press “add to query pool”, this should load several items into the pool list.
  4. Set the unzipped BRIG-Example folder as the folder.
  5. The BLAST options box should be left blank.
  6. Click next

Step 1, your Main window should look something like this

N.B: You can add individual files to your data pool too

Step 2: Configure rings

The next step is to configure what information is shown on each of the concentric rings in BRIG. Create six rings, for each ring:

  1. Set the legend text for each ring
  2. Select the required sequences from the data pool and click on “add data” to add to the ring list.
  3. Choose a colour
  4. Set the upper (90) and lower (70) identity threshold.
  5. Click on “add new ring” and repeat steps for each new ring required.
  • Rings can be reordered by dragging them in the Ring List pane.
  • You can set default threshold values in “BRIG options”.
  • When using a Genbank/EMBL file as a reference, users can choose whether to use the protein or nucleotide sequence.

Step 2, your input window should look something like this

Configure each of the rings as the following:

  • Ring 1:
    • Legend text: GC Content
    • Required sequences: GC Content
  • Ring 2:
    • Legend text: GC Skew
    • Required sequences: GC Skew
  • Ring 3:
    • Legend text: Coverage
    • Required seqeuences: BRIGExample.graph
    • Colour: rgb value 153,0,0
  • Ring 4:
    • Legend text: O157:H7
    • Required seqeunce: E_coli_O157H7Sakai.gbk
    • Colour: rgb value 0,0,153
  • Ring 5:
    • Legend text: HS and K12
    • Required sequence: E_coli_HS.fna, E_coli_K12MG1655.fna
    • Colour rgb value 0,153,0
  • Ring 6:
    • Legend text: CFT073 and UTI89
    • Required seqeunces: E_coli_CFT073.fna, E_coli_UTI89.fna
    • Colour: rgb value 153,0,153

Step 3: Review and submit

The last window allows us to change the BLAST options, the location of the image file
and set the image title, which will appear in the centre of the ring. For the walkthrough configure the third window as

  1. Set the image title as “BRIG example image”.
  2. Hit submit.
  3. The image will be created in the specified output directory and should look something like the image below.

Review BRIG settings and hit submit

BRIG will format Genbank files, run BLAST, parse the results and render the image.
The final image below shows GC Content and Skew, the Genome coverage,
contig boundaries, and the BLAST results against the other E. coli genomes. The results for HS and
K12 have been collated into a single ring, likewise for UTI89 and CFT073.

N.B Image settings, like size, fonts, etc can be configured in: Main window > Preferences > Image options

Final output image

Written by Nabil-Fareed Alikhan

July 9th, 2012 at 7:43 am

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