[Chimera-users] imgCIF files

Tom Goddard goddard at sonic.net
Wed May 4 10:31:41 PDT 2011

Hi Mattia,

   I put imgCIF support on the Chimera feature request list


I don't expect it is likely to get done for several reasons.  From what 
I read on the web imgCIF was developed for recording 2-d x-ray 
diffraction spot data.  Chimera cannot do anything with that kind of 
data.  In 2007 there was some work done to make it handle 3-dimensional 
density maps and it was included in RasMol for that purpose.  There was 
also some talk of a PyMol plug-in to read the 3-d imgCIF maps but I 
don't know if anything came of that.  It looks like this format is not 
used by most map display programs.  RasMol also uses CCP4 which Chimera 
reads, as does almost every other map display program.  And as Elaine 
pointed out, Chimera can directly create maps from atomic models.

   New volume data formats are easy to support in Chimera with Python 
code.  If someone wants to provide and imgCIF reader/writer in Python I 
could put it into Chimera if the code is well written.


> is there any intention of implementing the uploading of imgCIF density 
> maps files? Such files can be generated by RasMol starting from either 
> atomic structures or low-resolution bead models (e.g. SAXS-derived 
> models).
> Conversely, it would be nice if density maps could be generated within 
> Chimera...

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