Browser Extensible Data (BED)

Stores information on the location of genomic features

Genomic features — such as genes, regulatory elements, and repeated sequences, as well as RNA — can have consequences for human health and disease. Developed by the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), the Browser Extensible Data (BED) file format is a common method for capturing the location of genomic features and associated annotations. With guidance from UCSC, the GA4GH Large Scale Genomics (LSG) Work Stream has formalised the specification and developed a concrete set of guidelines for using it.

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  • Provides a simple and flexible format for describing genomic features
  • Outlines concrete guidelines for utilising the format

Target users

Researchers, and clinicians

Image summary: The BED specification stores the location of genomic features, important for studying epigenetics.

Community resources

Dive deeper into this product! BED is a plain text file format for documenting the location of genomic features and other related information. Created by UCSC, the BED format is widely used by the community today and is now reflected in a formal specification. The format consists of a series of inputs: three mandatory fields for capturing the physical start and end positions of a genomic feature on a linear chromosome, and nine optional fields for providing additional information, such as gene name and aesthetic features. Custom fields allow for the addition of many other data types.



5 Jan 2022

Don't see your name? Get in touch:

  • Ewan Birney
    European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)
  • Yossi Farjoun
    Lady Davis Institute
  • Michael Hoffman
    Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  • Oliver Hofmann
    University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research
  • John Marshall
    University of Glasgow
  • Andy Yates
    EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI)

News, events, and more

Catch up with all news and articles associated with Browser Extensible Data (BED).

GA4GH BED v1.0
30 Mar 2022
GA4GH BED v1.0: a formal standard sets ground rules for genomic features
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