GOPHER: Generator Of Probes for capture Hi-C Experiments at high Resolution


  • P. Hansen
  • S. Ali
  • H. Blau
  • D. Danis
  • J. Hecht
  • U. Kornak
  • D.G. Lupiáñez
  • S. Mundlos
  • R. Steinhaus
  • P.N. Robinson


  • BMC Genomics


  • BMC Genomics 20 (1): 40


  • BACKGROUND: Target enrichment combined with chromosome conformation capturing methodologies such as capture Hi-C (CHC) can be used to investigate spatial layouts of genomic regions with high resolution and at scalable costs. A common application of CHC is the investigation of regulatory elements that are in contact with promoters, but CHC can be used for a range of other applications. Therefore, probe design for CHC needs to be adapted to experimental needs, but no flexible tool is currently available for this purpose. RESULTS: We present a Java desktop application called GOPHER (Generator Of Probes for capture Hi-C Experiments at high Resolution) that implements three strategies for CHC probe design. GOPHER's simple approach is similar to the probe design of previous approaches that employ CHC to investigate all promoters, with one probe being placed at each margin of a single digest that overlaps the transcription start site (TSS) of each promoter. GOPHER's simple-patched approach extends this methodology with a heuristic that improves coverage of viewpoints in which the TSS is located near to one of the boundaries of the digest. GOPHER's extended approach is intended mainly for focused investigations of smaller gene sets. GOPHER can also be used to design probes for regions other than TSS such as GWAS hits or large blocks of genomic sequence. GOPHER additionally provides a number of features that allow users to visualize and edit viewpoints, and outputs a range of files useful for documentation, ordering probes, and downstream analysis. CONCLUSION: GOPHER is an easy-to-use and robust desktop application for CHC probe design. Source code and a precompiled executable can be downloaded from the GOPHER GitHub page at