If you use CPG in a publication, please cite as follows: Field, H.I., Coulson, R.M.R., and Field, M.C., (2013) ‘An automated graphics tool for comparative genomics: The Coulson plot generator.’ BMC Bioinformatics 14 141 [PDF]

The Coulson plot is featured in the following publications and many more:
Field, M.C., Gabernet-Castello, C., and Dacks, JB., (2007) 'Reconstructing the evolution of the endocytic system: insights from genomics and molecular cell biology.’ Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 607 84-962.

Koumandou, V.L., Dacks, J.B., Coulson, R.M.R., and Field, M.C., (2007) ‘Control systems for membrane fusion in the ancestral eukaryote; evolution of tethering complexes and SM protein.’ BMC Evolutionary Biology 7 29.

Leung, K-F., Dacks, J.D., and Field, M.C., (2008) ‘Evolution of the multi-vesicular body ESCRT machinery; subunit retention and functional equivalence across the eukaryotic lineage.’ Traffic 9 1698-716.

Nevin, W.D., and Dacks, J.B., (2009) ‘Repeated secondary loss of adaptin complex genes in the Apicomplexa.’ Parasitology International 58 86-94.

Dokudovskaya, S., Waharte, F., Schlessinger, A., Pieper, U., Devos, D., Cristea, I.M., Williams, R., Salamero, J., Chait, B.T., Sali, A., Field, M.C., Rout, M.P., and Dargemont, C., (2011) 'A conserved coatomer-related complex containing Sec13 and Seh1 dynamically associates with the vacuole in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.' Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 10 M110.006478.

Herman, E.K., Walker, G., van der Giezen, M., and Dacks, J.B., (2011) ‘Multi-vesicular bodies in the enigmatic amoeboflagellate Breviata anathema and the evolution of ESCRT 0.’ Journal of Cell Science 2011 124 613-21.

Hirst, J.D.B.L, Francisco, G.C., Sahlender, D.A., Seaman, M.N., Dacks, J.B., and Robinson, M.S., (2011) ‘The fifth adaptor protein complex.’ PLoS Biology 9 e1001170.

Klute, M.J., Melancon, P., and Dacks, J.B., (2011) ‘Evolution and diversity of the Golgi.’ Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology 3 a007849.

Koumandou, V.L., Dacks, J.B., and Field, M.C., (2011) ‘Evolutionary reconstruction of the retromer complex and its function in Trypanosoma brucei.’ Journal of Cell Science 124 1496 - 1509.

Manna, P., Kelly, S., and Field, M.C., (2013) ‘Co-evolution of antigenic variation and adaptins in trypanosomatids.’ Molecular and Protein Evolution 67 123 - 128

Schlacht, A., Mowbrey, K., Elias, M., Kahn, R.A., and Dacks, J.B., (2013) 'Ancient complexity, opisthokont plasticity and discovery of the 11th subfamily of Arf-GAP proteins.' Traffic 14 639 - 649

Field, H.I., Coulson, R.M.R., and Field, M.C., (2013) ‘An automated graphics tool for comparative genomics: The Coulson plot generator.’ BMC Bioinformatics 14 141.

vanDam, T.P.J., Townsend, M.J, Turk, M., Schlessinger, A., Sali, A., Field, M.C., and Huynen, M., (2013) ‘Evolution of modular intraflagellar transport from a coatomer-like progenitor.’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA) 110 6943 - 6948.

Wideman, J.G., Gawryluk, R.M., Gray, M.W., and Dacks, J.B., (2013) ‘The ancient and widespread nature of the ER-mitochondria encounter structure.’ Molecular Biology and Evolution 30 2044-9.

Spycher, C., Herman, E.K., Morf, L., Qi, W., Rehrauer, H., Aquino Fournier, C., Dacks, J.B., and Hehl, A.B. (2013) ‘An ER-directed transcriptional response to unfolded protein stress in the absence of conserved sensor-transducer proteins in Giardia lamblia.’ Mol Microbiol. 88 754-71.

Klinger, C.M., Klute, M.J., and Dacks, J.B.(2013) ‘Comparative genomic analysis of multi-subunit tethering complexes demonstrates an ancient pan-eukaryotic complement and sculpting in Apicomplexa.’ PLoS One 8 e76278.

Schlacht, A., Emily K. Herman, E.K., Klute, M.J., Field, M.C., and Dacks, J.B., (2014) ‘Missing pieces of an ancient puzzle: evolution of the membrane-trafficking system.’ In “Origin And Evolution Of Eukaryotes’, Keeling, P.J. and Koonin, E.V., eds., Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, ISBN-13: 9781621820284.


The Coulson plot generator (CPG) is an open source Java application for creating a multiple pie diagram and comparing subunit occupancy across a range of entities as shown at left. Numbers of pies, segments, labels and colors are customizable. CPG creates an editable PDF from a comma separated text file (.csv), and has zoom capability for larger datasets. The format is especially useful for visualizing patterns in big data. Originally developed for comparative genomics, the Coulson plot is also appropriate for display of other hierarchical data. The format was invented by Richard M. Coulson and coded as an application by Helen I. Field. The icon was designed by Mark C. Field.

CPG is available at Source Forge as a compiled binary or source code, and offered under an Artistic License 2.0 (© 2000-2006 The Perl Foundation).