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An Open Source Program for Statistical Genetics Analysis

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OpenMendel Project

OpenMendel is an open source project implemented in the Julia programming language that comprises a set of packages for statistical analysis to solve a variety of genetic problems. OpenMendel is the open source version of Mendel, a comprehensive package for exact statistical genetic analysis of qualitative and quantitative traits. OpenMendel currently provides the analysis options listed below, with additional options under development. Each analysis option is a separate Julia package. We invite the genetics community to contribute to the OpenMendel Project.

Analysis Options:


OpenMendel also includes the following utility packages:


Note: The three OpenMendel packages (1) SnpArrays, (2) Search, and (3) MendelBase must be installed before any other OpenMendel package will run. It is easiest if these three packages are installed in the above order and before any other OpenMendel package.

Within Julia, use the package manager to install an OpenMendel package, for example, to install SnpArrays, use the command:


All OpenMendel packages support Julia v0.4 and v0.5.

Data Files

To run an analysis package you will need to prepare a Control file and have your data files available. The Control file holds your data filenames and any optional parameters for the analysis. Details on the format and contents of the Control and data files can be found in the MendelBase documentation page. Descriptions of the relevant parameters (keywords) available within each analysis package are in its documentation page (see the links above).

There are example data files in the “docs” subfolder of each Mendel package, for example, ~/.julia/v0.5/MendelGWAS/docs.

Running the Analysis

To run an analysis package, first launch Julia. Then load the package, for example MendelGWAS, with the command:

 julia> using MendelGWAS

Next, if necessary, change to the directory containing your files, for example,

 julia> cd("~/path/to/data/files/")

Finally, to run the analysis using the parameters in your Control file, for example, Control_file.txt, use the command:

 julia> GWAS("Control_file.txt")

Note: Mendel analysis packages are named with the Mendel prefix, for example, MendelGWAS, but the actual analysis functions do not have the prefix, for example, GWAS.


If you use this analysis package in your research, please cite the following reference in resulting publications:

Lange K, Papp JC, Sinsheimer JS, Sripracha R, Zhou H, Sobel EM (2013). Mendel: The Swiss army knife of genetic analysis programs. Bioinformatics 29:1568-1570.


This project is supported by the National Institutes of Health under NIGMS awards R01GM053275 and R25GM103774 and NHGRI award R01HG006139.