BIS180L Online Plan

Dear Students,

This is the second offering of BIS180L as a remote class; we found last year that it works very well in remote format. This class was already designed as a computer only class so there are no significant change in content due to remote delivery.

Lectures will be pre-recorded and available by 9AM the day before the lecture/lab time. You will need to watch them in advance and answer embedded quiz questions via playposit. Due date for the quiz is 9AM the day of lecture. This give me and the TA time to review questions before class.

During lecture/lab-time we will meet via Zoom. We will devote the beginning of each class / lab to questions on the lecture material. I will then split you into groups of two or three in zoom breakout rooms to work on the lab material. John (TA) and I will drop into your breakout rooms when you have questions. We will reconvene as a full Zoom group occasionally through the session.

I expect you to be available during the class / lab periods to participate in the Zoom sessions. If you are unable to do this due to the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and remote instruction, or if you are in a different time zone, please email me or message me through Canvas.

You will need a laptop for this course (Chromebook OK).

Reading Material / Text Book

We will use Vince Buffalo’s excellent book Bioinformatics Data Skills.

This book is available online for free through the UC Davis Library (on campus or VPN connection required). UC is licensed for simultaneous access by 28 people. If that doesn’t work for you, you can buy it direct from the publisher or from amazon. As of this posting Amazon is cheaper and has used copies as well.

Additionally we will use Hadley Wickham’s also excellent book R for Data Science which is available online for free. If you would like a physical copy, here is the amazon link

Installing Requisite Software on your Mac

If you want to try doing the labs directly on your Mac instead of on AWS here is how you can. This document may have errors; please let me know and I can help (and update the document)

web downloads

Install the following packages by clicking on the link and following the instructions on the web page:

  • The atom editor
  • The R statistical programming language
  • The R IDE Rstudio
  • The sequence alignment viewer jalview # maybe not used
  • The network viewer cytoscape # maybe not used

Atom packages

Open up atom, click on File > Preferences, and then install the following atom packages. Not all of these are needed for the BIS180L but they are good to have

  • Sublime-Style_Column-Selection
  • language-markdown
  • git-plus
  • markdown-pdf
  • line-ending-converter

In Atom go to preferences and search for the ‘whitespace’ package. Disable it.

XCode command line tools

First you need to install Xcode, Apple’s development software that includes compilers necessary for installing packages from source.

We only need the Xcode command-line tools, you can install them by entering the command below in the Unix terminal:

xcode-select --install

(If you prefer, you can install the whole GUI instead but it takes up a lot of space and you will probably never use it.)


Homebrew is a package manager for OS X that it much easier to install Linux/Unix packages.

Go to the Homebrew webpage and follow the install instructions there.

After Homebrew is installed, then from a terminal window:

upgrade homebrew

brew update
brew upgrade

install the following packages through homebrew

brew tap brewsci/bio # additional packages
brew install htop
brew install wget
brew install git
brew cask install igv
brew install mafft
brew install bowtie2
brew install bwa
brew install bwa-mem2brew 
brew install samtools
brew install bedtools
brew install blast
brew install emboss
brew install gatk
brew install freebayes
brew install fasttree
brew install star
brew install fastqc
brew cask install dendroscope
brew cask install mega
brew cask install git-it

R packages

Open RStudio and then

install.packages(c('swirl','genetics','hwde','seqinr','qtl','evaluate','formatR','highr','markdown','yaml','htmltools','caTools','bitops','knitr','rmarkdown','devtools','shiny','pvclust','gplots','cluster','igraph','scatterplot3d','ape','SNPassoc','rsconnect','dplyr','tidyverse','learnr', 'LDheatmap'), dependencies=T)

Still within R, install Bioconductor


perl modules

For auto_barcode to work, the following must be installed (From the Unix command line):

sudo cpan install Statistics::Descriptive
sudo cpan install Statistics::R
sudo cpan install Text::Levenshtein::XS
sudo cpan install Text::Table


cd /usr/local/bin
tar -xvzf tophat-2.1.1.OSX_x86_64.tar.gz
ln -s tophat-2.1.1.OSX_x86_64/tophat ./

add class data

IMPORTANT: I AM GIVING THIS A DIFFERENT PATH THAN USED IN THE LAB TO REDUCE THE CHANCE OF YOU OVERWRITING FILES ON YOUR COMPUTER. On the website it this is ~/data but here it is ~/bis180l/data. ``~/bis180l/data` will be overwritten so make sure that nothing critical is there.

mkdir -p bis180l
cd bis180l
tar xzvf bis180l_class_data_2020tar.gz
rm bis180l_class_data_2020tar.gz


Still need to deal with trimmomatic and auto_barcode, but the instructions in the labs should more or less work.


I can’t get this to work, you will need to use your instance for this one.