TRIBES is a user-friendly platform for relatedness detection in genomic data.

Accurately classifying the degree of relatedness between pairs of individuals has multiple important applications, including disease gene discovery, removal of confounding relatives in genome wide association studies (GWAS) and family planning.

Value proposition

Currently no relatedness tools are available which are accurate beyond 3rd degree and combine the necessary data processing steps for accuracy and ease of use. To address this we have developed ‘TRIBES’, a user-friendly platform to accurately identify distant relatives.

TRIBES is user-friendly and flexible

TRIBES enables user-guided data pruning, phasing of genomes, IBD segment recovery, masking of artefactual IBD segments and finally relationship estimation. To facilitate ease-of-use we employ ‘Snakemake’, a workflow tool which enables flexibility and reproducibility.

TRIBES is accurate past 3rd degree

We have demonstrated in our recent studies here and here that TRIBES is accurate up to 7th degree (thats your second cousin once removed), which greatly improves on commonly used tools KING and PLINK, which are only accurate up to 3rd degree.

TRIBES enables disease locus discovery

TRIBES incorporates a masking function to exclude IBD regions which are artefactual. In our study, we show certain regions of the genome have disproportionately high amounts of shared IBD in an unrelated 1000 Genomes reference cohort. By masking these regions, TRIBES both improves the accuracy of relationship estimates and is capable of  highlighting a disease locus.


  • Open Source access
  • Full functionality
  • Documentation access
Coming Soon
  • MarketPlace service
  • Full functionality
  • Managed security
  • Managed updates
R&D Support
On request
  • Custom implementation
  • Bespoke solutions
  • Product workshops
  • Managed updates
  • Full support

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Application cases

  • Genome-wide Association studies (GWAS). Related samples in a GWAS are confounders, TRIBES can identify related samples for removal
  • Family planning. TRIBES can assist in avoidance of consanguineous unions
  • Disease locus discovery. Through identification of shared IBD segments, TRIBES can substantially narrow search space for disease loci in cohorts of related samples.


TRIBES is freely available on GitHub for use on Linux, MacOS or Windows 10.

We are planning to offer TRIBES as cloud application shortly.

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Twine et al. TRIBES: A user-friendly pipeline for relatedness detection and disease gene discovery, BioArchive, 2019
Henden and Twine et al. IBD analysis of Australian amyotrophic lateral sclerosis SOD1-mutation carriers identifies five founder events and links sporadic cases to existing ALS families, BioArchive, 2019


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