The BIOS project has generated for over 4000 individuals RNA-sequencing and DNA methylation data. A part from these data, GoNL imputed genotypes were generated from existing genotypes and several phenotypes/demographic variables were collected for the same set of samples. A highly flexible sample-oriented metadatabase (MDb) was created in order to manage the dynamic generation of this large-scale multiple-omic data set.

The MDb is a non-relation database ( that uses JSON to store records and JavaScript for querying. Furthermore, it has an HTTP API suitable to programmatically access the database from the GRID, e.g, the bios alignment pipeline.

Each record or document is a sample (individual) within the BIOS project and has a unique identifier.

UPDATE REQUIRED Each document has a predefined structure according to our database schema ( Custom Python scripts are use to update or modify the database (

Access to the metadatabase (MDb) is restricted; please contact (Leon Mei or Maarten van Iterson).

Description of MDb content

The MDb contains as much as meta-information as possible from all samples and datatypes: location of (raw) data on srm, md5 checksum verification, quality control information, links between the different identifiers used (person_id, dna_id, etc) and phenotype information.

Every sample’s meta information is encoded in a CouchDB document. Each document has a unique identifier (the bios_id) which is biobankname (CODAM, LL, LLS, NTR, RS and PAN) concatenated with person_id separated by a “-”, e.g. CODAM-2001. This unique bios_id is not suitable for use in the public domain, e.g., EGA upload, therefore a unique non-identifiable identifier has been created for each individual; the uuid.

Every update of a sample in the database is recorded by increasing a revision number. Therefore it is always possible to undo wrong updates.

Description available views

Views are the way to extract information from the couchDb. Views are organized into designs; each design contains a number of views related to a particular kind of information that can be extracted from the MDb. For example, there is a design EGA which contains currently two views 1) freeze1RNASeq to extract those samples for which RNAseq data has been uploaded to EGA and 2) freeze1Methylation for the DNA methylation data.

Other relevant views are:

design: view:
Identifiers Ids, Relations
Phenotypes Phenotypes
RNA Fastq, RNARuns, RNASamplesheet
DNAm Idat, DNAmRuns, DNAmSamplesheet
DNA Imputations
EGA freeze1RNA, freeze1DNAm, freeze2RNA, freeze2DNAm

Note: We can always add views if necessary; please contact Maarten van Iterson.

Accessing the MDb

Views can be downloaded as JSON documents by making a GET request. Most programming languages have utilities for making GET requests and to transform JSON documents. Some programming languages have an API for CouchDB e.g. JAVA and Python. There are several online tools available for transforming JSON documents to csv files.

UPDATE REQUIRED couchdb with _list-function to transform directly to csv

head(getView("getIds", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB))
head(getView("Phenotypes", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB))
head(getView("Fastq", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB))
head(getView("Idat", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB))
head(getView("getIds", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB))
head(getView("getIds", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB))
head(getView("getIds", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB))

Access the metadatabase using R

BBMRIomics uses a configuration file to read in your MDb username and password, so that you do not have to type it every time you use the MDb.

Create a file called .bbmriomics (.biosrutils is also a valid name) and stored it in your home directory on the VM (/home/username) and add e.g.:

usrpwdrp3: 'rp3_username:password' 
usrpwdrp4: 'rp4_username:password'
proxy:  /tmp/your_proxy

The first line contains your username and password for the RP3 database. The latter two can be optionally for accessing the RP4 database and accessing data from SRM using the function SRM2VM.

On loading the BBMRIomics library your username and password will be set in the variable RP3_MDB_USRPWD. The getView-function can now be used like this:

ids <- getView("getIds", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_MDB)
## No username and password provided for the MDB use stored views!

Also, access to the RNAseq run database (if you requested an account) is possible through the getView-function.

stats <- getView("getStats", usrpwd=RP3_MDB_USRPWD, url=RP3_RDB)
## No username and password provided for the MDB use stored views!

Putting data in the MDb


Currently, the are R and python scripts available, however, I’m looking into couchdbapp a python interface that is specifically design to update/views etc.