Data Model
The Solution section provides a high-level overview of how and why TileDB-VCF uses 3D sparse arrays to store genomic variant data. What follows are the technical implementation details about the underlying arrays, including their schemas, dimensions, tiling order, attributes, and metadata.

TileDB-VCF Dataset

A TileDB-VCF dataset is composed of a group of two separate TileDB arrays:
    a 3D sparse array for the actual genomic variants and associated fields/attributes
    a 1D sparse array for the metadata stored in each single-sample VCF header

Data Array

Basic schema parameters

Parameter
Value
Array type
Sparse
Rank
3D
Cell order
Row-major
Tile order
Row-major

Dimensions

The dimensions in the schema are:
Dimension Name
TileDB Datatype
Corresponding VCF Field
contig
TILEDB_STRING_ASCII
CHR
start_pos
uint32_t
VCFPOSplus TileDB anchors
sample
TILEDB_STRING_ASCII
Sample name
As mentioned before, the coordinates of the 3D array are contig along the first dimension, chromosomal location of the variants start position along the second dimension, and sample names along the third dimension.

Attributes

For each field in a single-sample VCF record there is a corresponding attribute in the schema.
Attribute Name
TileDB Datatype
Description
end_pos
uint32_t
VCF END position of VCF records
qual
float
VCF QUAL field
alleles
var<char>
CSV list of REF and ALT VCF fields
id
var<char>
VCF ID field
filter_ids
var<int32_t>
Vector of integer IDs of entries in the FILTER VCF field
real_start_pos
uint32_t
VCF POS(no anchors)
info
var<uint8_t>
Byte blob containing any INFO fields that are not stored as explicit attributes
fmt
var<uint8_t>
Byte blob containing any FMT fields that are not stored as explicit attributes
info_*
var<uint8_t>
One or more attributes storing specific VCF INFO fields, e.g. info_DP, info_MQ, etc.
fmt_*
var<uint8_t>
One or more attributes storing specific VCF FORMAT fields, e.g. fmt_GT, fmt_MIN_DP, etc.
The info_* and fmt_* attributes allow individual INFO or FMT VCF fields to be extracted into explicit array attributes. This can be beneficial if your queries frequently access only a subset of the INFO or FMT fields, as no unrelated data then needs to be fetched from storage.
The choice of which fields to extract as explicit array attributes is user-configurable during array creation.
Any extra info or format fields not extracted as explicit array attributes are stored in the byte blob attributes, info and fmt.

Metadata

    anchor_gap Anchor gap value
    extra_attributes List of INFO or FMT field names that are stored as explicit array attributes
    version Array schema version
These metadata values are updated during array creation, and are used during the export phase. The metadata is stored as "array metadata" in the sparse data array.
When ingesting samples, the sample header must be identical for all samples with respect to the contig mappings. That means all samples must have the exact same set of contigs listed in the VCF header. This requirement will be relaxed in future versions.

VCF Headers Array

The vcf_headers array stores the original text of every ingested VCF header in order to:
    1.
    ensure the original VCF file can be fully recovered for any given sample
    2.
    reconstruct an htslib header instance when reading from the dataset, which is used for operations such as mapping a filter ID back to the filter string, etc.

Basic schema parameters

Parameter
Value
Array type
Sparse
Rank
1D
Cell order
Row-major
Tile order
Row-major

Dimensions

Dimension Name
TileDB Datatype
Description
sample
TILEDB_STRING_ASCII
Sample name

Attributes

Attribute Name
TileDB Datatype
Description
header
var<char>
Original text of the VCF header

Putting It All Together

To summarize, we've described three main entities:
    The variant data array (3D sparse)
    The general metadata, stored in the variant data array as metadata
    The VCF header array (1D sparse)
All together we term this a "TileDB-VCF dataset." Expressed as a directory hierarchy, a TileDB-VCF dataset has the following structure:
1
<dataset_uri>/
2
|_ __tiledb_group.tdb
3
|_ data/
4
|_ __array_schema.tdb
5
|_ __meta/
6
|_ <general-metadata-here>
7
... <other array directories/fragments and files>
8
|_ vcf_headers/
9
|_ __array_schema.tdb
10
... <other array directories/fragments and files>
Copied!
The root of the dataset, <dataset_uri> is a TileDB group. The data member is the TileDB 3D sparse array storing the variant data. This array stores the general TileDB-VCF metadata as its array metadata in folder data/__meta. The vcf_headers member is the TileDB 1D sparse array containing the VCF header data.

Configurable Parameters

During array creation, there are several array-related parameters that the user can control. These are:
    Array data tile capacity (default 10,000)
    The "anchor gap" size (default 1,000)
    The list of INFO and FMT fields to store as explicit array attributes (default is none).
Once chosen, these parameters cannot be changed.
During sample ingestion, the user can specify the:
    Sample batch size (default 10)
The above parameters may impact read and write performance, as well as the size of the persisted array. Therefore, some care should be taken to determine good values for these parameters before ingesting a large amount of data into an array.
Last modified 9mo ago