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For other references to Circos usage and items of note, see examples of published images and Circos citations.

News



11 February 2014

I just discovered a couple of Circos cover appearances in Cancer Discovery Journal.

The July 2013 issue cover shows a Circos plot of relative copy number changes in 38 oral squamous cell carcinoma tumors.

The September 2012 issue cover shows a collection of Circos images of somatic mutations in melanoma tumors.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (567 x 458)

July 2013 Pickering CR, Zhang J, Yoo SY et al. 2013 Integrative genomic characterization of oral squamous cell carcinoma identifies frequent somatic drivers Cancer discovery 3:770-781.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (567 x 456)

Sep 2012 Dahlman KB, Xia J, Hutchinson K et al. 2012 BRAF(L597) mutations in melanoma are associated with sensitivity to MEK inhibitors Cancer discovery 2:791-797.

11 February 2014

Circos appears on the cover of Feb 2014 issue of Placenta Journal.

Saben J, Zhong Y, McKelvey S et al. 2014 A comprehensive analysis of the human placenta transcriptome Placenta 35:125-131.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (530 x 300)
22 November 2013

The Fall 2013 issue of UCSF Magazine has my Circos illustration of personalized medicine. The human outline motif is incorporated into other design elements in the issue.

The look of the image is inspired after Nature's Encode cover by Carl De Torres.

To learn how to generate the cover and variants, read the Circos Encode Cover Tutorial.

Circos image and design in Fall 2013 issue of UCSF magazine (702 x 813)
Circos image and design in Fall 2013 issue of UCSF magazine
31 October 2013

Circos reaches a milestone - 500 citations in peer-reviewed literature. To celebrate, I've made a commemorative poster that features over 400 Circos images from the literature.

citation list | image gallery | press highlights

Circos poster - 500 citations (400 x 517)
Circos reaches 500 citations in scientific literature.
30 October 2013

Boo! Circos appears on the cover of the Genome Informatics 2013 conference. The image is taken from Genome of the long-living sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn.) by Ming et al..

I had the opportunity to design the cover for the conference a few years back. The Genome Informatics 2010 cover showed a unique depiction of gene sequences mentioned in the abstract book.

Circos poster - 500 citations (300 x 474)
Circos on the cover of Genome Informatics 2013 program cover.
8 March 2013

In their 2012-2013 Global Market Forecast, Airbus uses a figure created by the Circos table viewer to visualize global migration patterns.

The image was originally generated by the UN Population division.

Region definition according to United Nations; Asia including Oceania, countries of the Middle East and countries of CIS, Europe including Russia. Source: United Nations Population division, International Migrant Stock

Circos in Airbus 2012-2013 Global Market Forecast. (600 x 415)
8 March 2013

Circos appears on the cover of February 2013 issue of Genome Biology and Evolution. The image is taken from the paper

1Ahmed I, Biggs PJ, Matthews PJ et al. 2012 Mutational dynamics of aroid chloroplast genomes Genome Biol Evol 4:1316-1323.
Circos on the cover of Genome Biology and Evolution. (268 x 347)
1 January 2013

Circos appears on the cover of Jan 2013 issue of Biotechnology Focus in an article about epigenetics.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (317 x 428)
1 January 2013

Circos appears on the cover of Nature Review's 2013 Cancer Calendar in the form of a figure taken from

Shih AH, Abdel-Wahab O, Patel JP et al. 2012 The role of mutations in epigenetic regulators in myeloid malignancies Nat Rev Cancer 12:599-612.

Nature Reviews recognizes the importance of clear and informative figures:

"Indeed, given the adage that 'a picture paints a thousand words', good figures can encapsulate entire fields of cancer research without the need for extensive explanations."

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (400 x 357)
1 October 2012

Circos-based illustration designed for the cover of Trends in Genetics human genetics special issue (Trends in Genetics October 2012, 28 (10)).

Read about how it was made.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (400 x 523)
3 May 2012

Scientific terminology. Longer, harder and more arcane. A Circos illustration accompanies the New York Times article ‘Ome,’ the Sound of the Scientific Universe Expanding.

The age of 'omes' is here. It began with the genome, continued with the proteome, branched out with the memome and reached full flowering with the notion of the omome.

This probably sounds like raw material for nonsense poetry, but it’s a real biological and linguistic trend that makes sense, once you get the idea of just what an 'ome' is.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (400 x 367)
29 April 2011

A Circos image appears as part of a spread in SFU's biannual AQ Magazine. The composite accompanies my photos of our laboratory and computer equipment.

The image was adapted from Figure 1 of our paper 1Jones SJ, Laskin J, Li YY et al. 2010 Evolution of an adenocarcinoma in response to selection by targeted kinase inhibitors Genome Biol 11:R82.

Circos in a spread in SFU
13 January 2011

Report on Business makes the connection between companies and perks in their January 2011 issue.

Circos on the cover of Report on Business (300 x 410)
8 December 2010

A Circos figure appears on the cover of Science Translational Medicine. I'm very happy to report that with this cover, Circos has appeared on the covers of both Nature and Science publications, the world's two top scientific journals.

Circos on the cover of Science Translational Medicine (310 x 427)
22 July 2010

Deutsche Post DHL uses Circos in a printed advertisement for the Mail & Logistics Group.

Deutsche Post DHL uses Circos. (315 x 400)
5 May 2010

I've made a new website for Circos, and updated the site for the tableviewer.

On the new site, things should be easier to find and less ugly.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (900 x 380)
28 April 2010

In 2008, I worked with Pearson publishers to create a cover for iGenetics (3rd ed) by Peter Russell. I just received a copy of the award won by the book's cover illustration.

Circos iGenetics book cover - recognized at the 39th annual Bookbuilders West Book Show (781 x 400)
14 April 2010

Nature features an article by Heidi Ledford, The Cancer Genome Challenge, which uses Circos images from the COSMIC project to illustrate the landscape of structural variation in cancer.

Circos image in Nature - The Cancer Genome Challenge (969 x 431)
6Ledford H 2010 Big science: The cancer genome challenge Nature 464 (7291) 972-974.
12 April 2010

In collaboration with Wired, I created an infographic that illustrates the relationship between characters on the TV show Lost. The image appears in the 22 April 2010 issue of Wired.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (800 x 424)
6 April 2010

Last year I collaborated with Derek Baccus from Pearson Science on a cover illustration for the 3rd edition of iGenetics by Peter Russell. I have just learned that this cover has won an award from Bookbuilders West.

A book cover that I created with Circos has won the Bookbuilders West Cover Award (500 x 569)
2 April 2010

Circos images are used as visual signposts for bioinformatics and biological data analysis. The image below appears on a strategy document from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Harvard School of Public Health - Bioinformatics Core Strategy Document (500 x 684)
1 March 2010

In a technology feature, Epigenome: mapping in motion, Monya Baker describes the current state of epigenetics and the search for epigenetic biological markers (1Baker M 2010 Epigenome: Mapping in Motion Nature Methods 7 (3) 181-186.).

The feature cites an article I wrote with Costello and Marra about epigenetics A first look at entire human methylomes, that included a figure I designed to show the richness of whole-genome epigenetic data and its variation across tissues.

Circos illustrates whole-genome epigenetic data (300 x 390)
Image from
24Costello JF, Krzywinski M, Marra MA 2009 A first look at entire human methylomes Nature biotechnology 27 (12) 1130-1132.
11 February 2010

Circos appears on the cover of Feb 11 2013 edition of Cancer Cell.

Yang D, Sun Y, Hu L et al. 2013 Integrated analyses identify a master microRNA regulatory network for the mesenchymal subtype in serous ovarian cancer Cancer cell 23:186-199

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (400 x 523)
11 January 2010

I've received a copy of the beautiful book Expedition Zukunft/Science Express. I've written previously about this great science education project.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (600 x 441)

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (600 x 472)
19 December 2009

A Circos image appears in the video Faces of Lupus II prepared by Alex Bowles for the Alliance of Lupus Research.

Circos in Faces of Lupus II (1000 x 289)
3 November 2009

An illustration of genome annotations of the E coli genome appears on the cover of Nature Biotechnology (vol 27, no 11). The image accompanies the article The transcription unit architecture of the Escherichia coli genome by Cho et al.

Circos image in Nature Biotechnology - Escherichia Coli (300 x 395)
23Cho BK, Zengler K, Qiu Y et al. 2009 The transcription unit architecture of the Escherichia coli genome Nature biotechnology 27 (11) 1043-1049.
2 November 2009

I've just received news that the Chromosomes exhibition by David Cronenberg, which uses Circos illustrations and my contribution to text, will be staged in Estoril (Portugal) during the film festival.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (600 x 600)

The project also toured in Rome, Turin and Lisbon

The Film Festival of Estoril and Volumina are pleased to announce the new staging of multimedia exhibition CHROMOSOMES by David Cronenberg. During the opening (november, 10) will be present Cronenberg, that for a moment abandons the role of director (he is working on the new film 'The Matarese Circle') to present himself as artist. Inside the Congress Center of Estoril, from 5 to 14 november, you can admire the images chosen and processed by David Cronenberg and the Volumina staff starting with original film frames from his most famous movies: The Fly, Videodrome, The Dead Zone, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch, Crash, Spider, and the recent Eastern Promises. The exhibition, curated by Domenico De Gaetano is completed by two 10-minute videos with famous sequences from Cronenberg's movies and a bilingual catalogue. One room is entirely dedicated to the installation RED CARS, in homage to the Ferrari, based on the artbook that was realized in 2005 and on rare archival footage..

9 September 2009

I am delighted and honoured to have Circos visualizations included as part of the Science Express project. Briefly, this is a public education effort lead by Max Planck institute to raise and foster science awareness and education to the public. The project is a 13 car train, lavishly repurposed into a rolling interactive science exhibition.

For those of you who can't experience the project first-hand, there is a wonderful virtual tour.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (800 x 348)

The design firm behind the exhibition is Archimedes. Visually, the project is stunning. Each car has an entirely different feel, which matches closely to the subject matter. For example, the nanotechnology car is tiled with mirrors, to give you the sense that you're inside an infinite lattice. Brilliant!

I am a strong proponent in making the product and knowledge garnered by science visually appealing &mdash for the same reason that presentations to public audiences should be both informative and engaging. Nature offers intrinsic beauty, be it as seen through its complexity (e.g. genome as an information warehouse) or reducible simplicity (e.g. supersymmetry in fundamental physical laws). Frankly, we don't need more dry and hypnogogic presentations - the facts and knowledge are there and easily accessed (though often mind-numbingly difficult to understand). What we need are more project like Science Express to attract the public, and potential future scientists, to science, and thereby persuade them that trying to understand inherently difficult things is rewarding and ... fun!

18 June 2009

Circos is published in Genome Research. The paper comes with an attractive foldout poster! To cite circos, please use

Krzywinski, M. et al. Circos: an Information Aesthetic for Comparative Genomes. Genome Res (2009) 19:1639-1645.

Download the Endnote reference

Circos: an Information Aesthetic for Comparative Genomics. (971 x 240)
Figures 1, 2, 7 and 8 from Krzywinski, M. et al. Circos: an Information Aesthetic for Comparative Genomes. Genome Res (2009) 19:1639-1645.

ABSTRACT We created a visualization tool, called Circos, to facilitate the identification and analysis of similarities and differences arising from comparisons of genomes. Our tool is effective in displaying variation in genome structure and, generally, any other kind of positional relationships between genomic intervals. Such data are routinely produced by sequence alignments, hybridization arrays, genome mapping, and genotyping studies. Circos uses a circular ideogram layout to facilitate the display of relationships between pairs of positions by the use of ribbons, which encode the position, size, and orientation of related genomic elements. Circos is capable of displaying data as scatter, line and histogram plots, heat maps, tiles, connectors and text. Bitmap or vector images can be created from GFF-style data inputs and hierarchical configuration files, which can be easily generated by automated tools, making Circos suitable for rapid deployment in data analysis and reporting pipelines.

13 May 2009

An image created by Circos appears on the cover of the EMBO Journal (6 May 2009, vol 28, no 9). The image is a crop of a comparison of 4 genomes (human, chimp, mouse and zebrafish) which is available at full resolution as part of a poster.

Circos image on EMBO Journal cover (394 x 517)
Cover of The Embo Journal (6 May 2009, vol 28, no 9).
1 February 2009

Circos appears in presentation "Science as Lens" by Adam Bly, Seed's editor-in-chief. Adam writes "Science as a subject is extraordinary. There is no subject bigger, there is no subject more exciting, there's no subject changing our times more profoundly. Science as a lens is our future."

Circos in presentation by Adam Bly, Seed
7 January 2009

Circos appears in Designing Universal Knowledge (buy at Amazon), a compilation of infographic methods by Gerlinde Schuller.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (765 x 457)
10 December 2008

I received my copy of the Chromosomes artbook by Volumina, for which I contributed genomic visualizations. Below are the scans of the front and the back of the book. David Cronenberg's son, Brandon Cronenberg, contributed his interpretation of chromosomes as machines of genetics - each page of the book has a unique chromosome interpretation in steam punk style.

Chromosomes - David Cronenberg - by Volumina (600 x 793)
1 December 2008

Circos is on the cover of Building Bioformatics Solutions with Perl, R and MySQL by Conrad Bessant, Ian Shadforth, and Darren Oakley (Oxford Press).

Building Bioformatics Solutions (344 x 450)
11 November 2008

Working with NYT's Jonathan Corum, I created an image for the science section of the New York Times, to accompany an article on epigenomics.

New York Times - Circos - Mapping the Epigenome. (600 x 623)
15 October 2008

Circos is being used in the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC) to show structural variation and copy number changes.

Circos in COSMIC (400 x 198)
27Forbes SA, Tang G, Bindal N et al. 2009 COSMIC (the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer): a resource to investigate acquired mutations in human cancer Nucleic Acids Res 38 (Database issue) D652-657.
11 October 2008

In collaboration with Volumina, Circos was used to generate illustrations for Chromosomes exhibition, an art book of still images from David Cronenberg films.

Illustrations created with Circos used in Chromosomes, an exhibition by David Cronenberg. (500 x 508)

I had the opportunity to contribute not only the art work, but text for this book as well.

Illustrations created with Circos used in Chromosomes, an exhibition by David Cronenberg. (800 x 267)

We fear the unknown. Monsters and creatures are words we give to the most frightening unknown of all — the biological. Things living — primitive, unpredictable, ravenous and without recourse to emotion or reason. Clutching reason and humanity, we congratulate ourselves for having departed those base instincts.

But our departure is neither recent nor complete. Inside each of us is a history of our evolutionary ancestors, written in our chromosomes. The ant has 2. The house fly, 12. Humans have 46, a dog has 78 and in a fern, there are over 1,000. Chromosomes are the superblocks of genetic organization and heredity. They are an organism's contact list of its evolutionary ancestors.

Many of these ancestors were not different from monsters and creatures that inhabit our nightmares, our fears and our movies. And as the lights come on, and projections from the screen yield to reality, our body harbors elements from a darker past. Like the Alu genetic element, a jumping-gene which repeatedly copies itself within our genome and a constant companion to our evolution for the past 65 million years. In every part of every chromosome is our creature heritage.

Although we emerged in human from our mother's womb, as embryos we exhibited our evolutionary history: we all had gills, a tail, and body hair. Lost or absorbed before birth, these signposts remind us that our ancestors are inside us, not just in stories or movies. It is only later that the brain, our species' most prized possession, develops and transforms us. In the last minute, we pass into humanity and into the world. Today, we tell stories of monsters and creatures. Tomorrow, we may take their place. Distant from now, our progeny will see our forms during development and say "What creatures we were." Movies will frighten by showing our forms. "Look, mommy, a smooth-skinned biped with wide eyes."

2 October 2008

I worked with Pearson publishers to create a cover for iGenetics (3rd ed) by Peter Russell.

Circos book cover - iGenetics by Peter Russell, 3rd ed (331 x 450)
1 October 2008

Circos images appear in the October 2008 issue of the German popular science magazine Geo.

Circos in Geo Magazine (688 x 447)
3 September 2008

A visual guide to Circos (Circos - an information aesthetic for comparative genomics) will be presented at the Genome Informatics meeting in Hinxton, UK (September 10-14, 2008). The guide presents some of the capabilities of Circos and its application in the field of comparative genomics and genome visualization.

Download: medium bitmap (7Mb) | huge bitmap (46Mb) | PDF (40Mb) | Illustrator (20Mb)

Circos - an information aesthetic for comparative genomics - presented at Genome Informatics 2008, Hinxton, UK (600 x 372)
2 September 2008

How about a visualization of a visualization?

A Circos wordle by Jonathan Feinberg (Cambridge/IBM) www.many-eyes.com (400 x 400)

Jonathan Feinberg (Cambridge/IBM) created this Circos wordle (zoom). Wordles are great, and just one of the ways to see data at many-eyes.

5 August 2008

Circos gets a mention on Flowing Data.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (400 x 493)
12 June 2008

American Scientist cover, which I created with Circos, wins Silver EXCEL Award in the Cover Illustration category from Society of National Association Publications (SNAP).

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (150 x 184)

"The cover graphic is a dramatic visual representation of some of the chromosomal connections between the dog and human genomes," Schoonmaker said. "It helps readers understand how physical differences between dogs and humans, and between one dog and another, can be so large, even though they share much genetically." (more).

27 April 2008
15 December 2007

Circos appears in a New York Times graphic "Naming Names" in the US Politics Section. Jonathan discusses how he used Circos in creating the image.

Circos in New York Times - Naming Names (400 x 295)

A large infographic appears in the Sunday edition (16 Dec 2007).

Circos in New York Times - Naming Names (400 x 560)

Images were prepared by Jonathan Corum and Farhana Hossain (NYT).

9 October 2007

An image created with Circos appears in the November issue of Conde Nast Portfolio, accompanying an article on personalized genome sequencing.

Circos in Conde Nast Portfolio (800 x 599)
9 August 2007

Circos appears on the cover of American Scientist (Sept/Oct issue). The image accompanies the article Genetics and the Shape of Dogs by Elaine Ostrander. Read about the figure.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (400 x 490)
23 November 2006

Circos appears in a New York Times graphic "Close up of the Genome, Species by Species by Species" in the NYT Science Section.

Circos in New York Times - Close up of the Genome, Species by Species by Species (400 x 370)
9 November 2006

Circos used in Nature publication Global trends of whole-genome duplications revealed by the ciliate Paramecium tetraurelia by J.M. Aury et al. The image

This unusual, but effective, Circos image shows successive duplications in the Paramecium genome. The exterior circle displays all chromosome-sized scaffolds, and the three interior circles show the reconstructed sequences obtained by fusion of the paired sequences from each previous step.

Circos - Circular Genome Data Visualization (400 x 400)
57Aury JM, Jaillon O, Duret L et al. 2006 Global trends of whole-genome duplications revealed by the ciliate Paramecium tetraurelia Nature 444 (7116) 171-178.
10 August 2006

Circos appears in September 2006 issue of Seed Magazine. The image is part of Manuel Lima's article Look Around You: A Visual Exploration of Complex Networks. The image that shows the synteny between the mouse genome and human chromosome 1.

Circos in SEED (483 x 600)
24 May 2005

Circos is included in Visual Complexity. The page also links to Schemaball, an older project that uses circular layout to visualize database schemas.

Circos in Visual Complexity (500 x 366)