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MaCH is a tool for haplotyping, genotype imputation and disease association analysis developed by Goncalo Abecasis and Yun Li. MaCH was first used to imputed missing genotypes in our FUSION genomewide association study (Scott et al, Science, 2007) and has since been used in the analysis of many other GWAS.

This page includes links to several useful MaCH related resources.

Currently, it also includes random notes on input file formats, but these probably need to be cleaned up!

Input Files

MaCH requires a pedigree file and a data file as input. The pedigree file stores genotypes and phenotypes for each individual. The data file describes the contents of the pedigre file.Both files should be in Merlin format, which is described at

Typically, MaCH expects markers to be ordered by position in the data and pedigree files.

Pedigree File (mandatory)

Each person is listed in a separate line of the pedigree file. The lines should start with 5 canonical fields, which are:

  • Family ID
  • Individual ID
  • Father ID (typically zero for unrelated individuals)
  • Mother ID (typically zero for unrelated individuals)
  • Sex (encoded as M or 1 for males and F or 2 for females)

These 5 canonical fields, which are present in all pedigree files, will typically be followed by a series of marker genotypes. Here is an example of a complete pedigree file:


 fam1 indiv1 0 0 1 ./. C/G ./. 
 fam2 indiv2 0 0 2 A/C C/C A/T 

This sample pedigree contains 2 individuals.

The first individual is a male from family fam1 and is named indiv1. Parental codes are set to zero; since there is no individual named 0 in fam1, these simply indicate the individual is a founder. The sex code is 1, indicating the individual is a male. Two of the genotypes for this individual are missing and have been set to ./.. Missing genotypes can also be coded as 0/0.

The second individual is a female founder from family fam2 with ID indiv2. There are no missing genotypes for this individual.

In a file that includes only unrelated individuals, you could set family and individual ids to be identical for every individual. Alternatively, you could simply set the individual id or family id to be 1 for all individuals.

Marker Information File (mandatory)

An example data file that matches the pedigree above might be:



This file tells us that the three files that follow the sex code in the pedigree file store genotypes for 3 markers, named SNP1, SNP2 and SNP3. MaCH expects SNPs to be ordered by position.

Optional Input files

Reference Haplotypes

Reference Haplotypes (typically from HapMap or 1000 Genomes) are optional. Mach 1.0 accepts two different formats: MACH format or HapMap format.

MACH format SNP File

One line per SNP and one field (marker name) only.

For example:

MACH format Haplotype File

One line per haplotype. Each haplotype can be preceded by a series of annotation columns.

For example:

HapMap format reference files

HapMap format SNP File: legend file downloaded from HapMap website

HapMap format Haplotype File: phase fileddownloaded from HapMap website

HapMap format files can be downloaded from or

HapMapIII phased haplotypes are in different format, you will need to use our converted haplotypes available at

When using HapMap format files, turn on --hapmapFormat option. For example:

 mach1 -d sample.dat -p sample.ped -s genotypes_chr14_CEU_r21_nr_fwd_legend.txt -h genotypes_chr14_CEU_r21_nr_fwd_phased.gz --hapmapFormat ...