News for Pika Ensembl Release 83 (December 2015)

News categories

New web displays and tools

Filtering Variants by MAF

The variants displayed on all sequence markup views can be filtered by minor allele frequency (MAF), allowing you to either show or hide according to a range of frequencies (between 0.01% and 10%). This filtering is not on by default so to enable it go to 'Configure this page' and then chose the value you want from the 'Hide variants by frequency (MAF)' drop down menu.

Advanced Filtering and Counts on Variant table

The functionality of the recently reimplemented variant table has been further expanded to allow a wider range of filtering options. Filtering can now be applied by Minor Allele Frequency, SIFT and PolyPhen scores, Clinical Significance, Consequence Type and many other columns, using buttons along the top of the variant table.

For many of these filters, preset useful combinations of options are available within the popup allowing rapid configuration of more complex combinations.

In addition, row counts for each consequence type have been readded to the existing Consequence Type filter. These are displayed in the popup which appears once the filter button has been pressed.

Manhattan plot track for LD

This new linkage disequilibrium (LD) track is focused on a variant and displays the linked variants surrounding the focus variant. The track displays a Manhattan plot, using the r2 and D prime values (from 0 to 1) on the Y axis.

The new track is accessible from the Variation Linkage disequilibrium page, through the links in the new column "Linked variants (image)", for example:

ID History converter

The ID History Converter has been incorporated into the Ensembl Tools infrastructure. This allows you to save jobs and access them later in a similar manner to how you would for tools such as BLAST.

Genoverse version updated

The version of Genoverse used for the overview panel on Location View has been updated to version 2.3.

Other updates


Protein Families

Updated MCL families including all Ensembl transcript isoforms (including human non-reference haplotypes) and newest Uniprot Metazoa.

 -- Getting distances by NCBI BlastP (v.2.2.30+)
 -- Clustering by MCL (v.14-137)
 -- Multiple Sequence Alignments with MAFFT (v.7.221)
 -- Family stable ID mapping

Schema version update

81 -> 82

Compara dumps

  • EMF / Fasta / OrthoXML / PhyloXML dumps for ProteinTrees + PhyloXML dumps for CAFE ProteinTrees
  • EMF / Fasta / OrthoXML / PhyloXML dumps for ncRNAtrees + PhyloXML dumps for CAFE ncRNAtrees

ncRNAtrees and homologies

Classification based on Rfam models (v11.0)
Multiple sequence alignments with Infernal
Phylogenetic reconstruction using RAxML
Phylogenetic reconstruction using FastTree2 and RAxML-Light for very big families
Additional multiple sequence alignments with Prank (w/ genomic flanks)
Additional phylogenetic reconstruction using PhyML and NJ
Phylogenetic tree merging using TreeBeST
Per family gene dynamics using CAFE
Homology inference
Secondary structure plots

ProteinTrees and homologies

GeneTrees (protein-coding) with new/updated genebuilds and assemblies

 -- all-vs-all blastp (ncbi-blast-2.2.30+)
 -- Clustering using hcluster_sg
 -- Multiple sequence alignments using MCoffee (Version_9.03.r1318) or Mafft (mafft-7.221)
 -- Phylogenetic reconstruction using TreeBeST
 -- Homology inference
 -- Pairwise gene-based dN/dS scores for high coverage species pairs only (both on orthologues and paralogues) (codeml/PAML v4.3)
 -- GeneTree stable ID mapping
 -- Per family gene dynamics using CAFE (v2.2)

API: removal of deprecated methods

These methods were deprecated and scheduled for deletion:

  • NCBITaxon::ensembl_alias()
  • NCBITaxon::short_name()


Ensembl VM Build

The Ensembl Virtual Machine applicance will be updated to version 83.

patch_82_83_a.sql - schema_version update

Update schema_version in meta table to 83.

patch_82_83a.sql - schema_version update in production db

Update schema_version in production database to 83.

Stable ID lookup

Stable ID lookup provided for REST services

Includes lookup for RefSeq and CCDS entries

Added start/end parameters for sequence endpoint (REST)

Allows to restrict a sequence to the specified start and end coordinates

RDF dump

RDF dumps for all species


EMBL and Genbank Dumps

EMBL and Genbank dumps for all species.

Ensembl 83 mart databases

  • Ensembl Genes 83
    • Retirement of the "flagged variants" (
    • Renamed "Phase" attribute to "start phase" and added new "end phase" attribute to structure and sequence sections.
    • Human assembly updated from GRCh38.p3 to GRCh38.p5
  • Ensembl Variation 83
    • Retirement of the genotype and strain data. This will result in the removal of the "Strain Variants", "Strain - Other Variants (Indels, Multiple Nucleotide Polymorphisms)" and "Compare Strain genotypes" attribute sections.
    • Retirement of the "flagged variants" (
    • Human assembly updated from GRCh38.p3 to GRCh38.p5
  • Ensembl Regulation 83
  • Vega 63
    • Renamed "Phase" attribute to "start phase" and added new "end phase" attribute to structure and sequence sections.
    • Human assembly updated from GRCh38.p3 to GRCh38.p5

External reference projection

Gene ontology (GO) identifiers and gene name projection to all species.

FASTA & GTF dumps

FASTA & GTF dumps for all the species


Improved image export

As part of our ongoing upgrade of the website export functions, we have a new Image Export "wizard" in place of the old popup menu. This can still be found via the 'picture' icon in the blue bar above images, but it now opens a window with a form where you can choose from a selection of preset options or configure a custom output.


Note that we have removed GFF export from this menu, in preparation for an upcoming revamp of the more general feature-and-sequence export. You can still export genes and a few other tracks from most images by clicking the 'Export data' button in the lefthand menu.

Retirement of archive 69

This release cycle we will be retiring archive 69 (October 2012) in accordance with our three-year rolling retirement policy. The data will remain available on our public database server; only the web interface will be removed.

Ontology view moved

The Ontology view has been moved from the transcript to the gene panel, with table for the different Ontologies (Biological Process, Molecular Function etc) being shown in seperate views. The tables have an additionall column showing the stabel IDs of the transcruipt(s) to which the term has been mapped. An example is:;g=ENSG00000072501;oid=1;r=X:53374149-53422728

Mobile site updates

The following updates to the mobile site have been released:

  • Improved behaviour when being redirected from to, for example informative messaging if the requested view is not available
  • Higher resolution share icon
  • Bug fixes (i) added ability to close "Switch to mobile site" banner (ii) logging in no longer redirects you to the desktop site

Vector image export for pairwise interaction data

Drawing of arcs has now been implemented in our PDF and SVG drawing code, which means that this data can now be displayed in all export formats.