Fast and sensitive detection of differential DNA methylation

Frank Jühling*, Helene Kretzmer*, Stephan H. Bernhart, Christian Otto, Peter F. Stadler & Steve Hoffmann


The detection of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) is a necessary prerequisite for characterizing different epigenetic states. We present a novel program, metilene, to identify DMRs within whole-genome and targeted data with unrivaled specificity and sensitivity.

A binary segmentation algorithm combined with a two-dimensional statistical test allows the detection of DMRs in large methylation experiments with multiple groups of samples in minutes rather than days using off-the-shelf hardware. metilene outperforms other state-of-the-art tools for low coverage data and can estimate missing data.

Hence, metilene is a versatile tool to study the effect of epigenetic modifications in differentiation/development, tumorigenesis, and systems biology on a global, genome-wide level. Whether in the framework of international consortia with dozens of samples per group, or even without biological replicates, it produces highly significant and reliable results.

Link to the publication.


The software is published under the GNU GPL v2.0 license.