A comprehensive comparison of tools for differential ChIP-seq analysis
ChIP-seq has become a widely adopted genomic assay in recent years to determine binding sites for transcription factors or enrichments for specific histone modifications. Beside detection of enriched or bound regions, an important question is to determine differences between conditions. While this is a common analysis for gene expression, for which a large number of computational approaches have been validated, the same question for ChIP-seq is particularly challenging owing to the complexity of ChIP-seq data in terms of noisiness and variability. Many different tools have been developed and published in recent years. However, a comprehensive comparison and review of these tools is still missing.
Here, we have reviewed five tools, which have been developed to determine differential enrichment between two conditions. They differ in their algorithmic setups, and also in the range of applicability. Hence, we have benchmarked these tools on real data sets for transcription factors to quantitatively evaluate their performance. Overall, there is a great variety in the type of signal detected by these tools with a surprisingly low level of agreement. Depending on the type of analysis performed, the choice of method will crucially impact the outcome.