SeqKit - a cross-platform and ultrafast toolkit for FASTA/Q file manipulation
- Documents: http://bioinf.shenwei.me/seqkit (Usage, FAQ, Tutorial, Benchmark and Development Notes)
- Source code: https://github.com/shenwei356/seqkit
- Latest version:
- Please cite:
FASTA and FASTQ are basic and ubiquitous formats for storing nucleotide and protein sequences. Common manipulations of FASTA/Q file include converting, searching, filtering, deduplication, splitting, shuffling, and sampling. Existing tools only implement some of these manipulations, and not particularly efficiently, and some are only available for certain operating systems. Furthermore, the complicated installation process of required packages and running environments can render these programs less user friendly.
This project describes a cross-platform ultrafast comprehensive toolkit for FASTA/Q processing. SeqKit provides executable binary files for all major operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X, and can be directly used without any dependencies or pre-configurations. SeqKit demonstrates competitive performance in execution time and memory usage compared to similar tools. The efficiency and usability of SeqKit enable researchers to rapidly accomplish common FASTA/Q file manipulations.
Table of Contents
- Technical details and guides for use
- Usage && Examples
- Cross-platform (Linux/Windows/Mac OS X/OpenBSD/FreeBSD, see download)
- Light weight and out-of-the-box, no dependencies, no compilation, no configuration (see download)
- UltraFast (see benchmark), multiple-CPUs supported
- Practical functions supported by 24 subcommands (see subcommands and usage )
- Supporting Bash-completion
- Well documented (detailed usage and benchmark )
- Seamlessly parsing both FASTA and FASTQ formats
- Supporting STDIN and gzipped input/output file, easy being used in pipe
, writing gzip file is very fast (10X of
gzip, 4X of
pigz) by using package pgzip
- Supporting custom sequence ID regular expression (especially useful for searching with ID list)
- Reproducible results (configurable rand seed in
- Well organized source code, friendly to use and easy to extend
|Formats support||Multi-line FASTA||Yes||Yes||--||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Functions||Searching by motifs||Yes||Yes||--||--||Yes||--|
|Splitting by seq||Yes||--||Yes||Yes||--||--|
|Filtering by size||Yes||Yes||--||Yes||Yes||--|
|Reading gzipped file||Yes||Yes||--||--||Yes||Yes|
|Writing gzip file||Yes||--||--||--||Yes||--|
Note 1: See version information of the softwares.
Note 2: See usage for detailed options of seqkit.
27 functional subcommands in total.
Sequence and subsequence
seqtransform sequences (revserse, complement, extract ID...)
subseqget subsequences by region/gtf/bed, including flanking sequences
slidingsliding sequences, circular genome supported
statssimple statistics of FASTA/Q files
faidxcreate FASTA index file and extract subsequence
fx2tabconvert FASTA/Q to tabular format (and length/GC content/GC skew)
tab2fxconvert tabular format to FASTA/Q format
fq2faconvert FASTQ to FASTA
convertconvert FASTQ quality encoding between Sanger, Solexa and Illumina
translatetranslate DNA/RNA to protein sequence (supporting ambiguous bases)
grepsearch sequences by ID/name/sequence/sequence motifs, mismatch allowed
headprint first N FASTA/Q records
rangeprint FASTA/Q records in a range (start:end)
samplesample sequences by number or proportion
rmdupremove duplicated sequences by id/name/sequence
duplicateduplicate sequences N times
commonfind common sequences of multiple files by id/name/sequence
splitsplit sequences into files by id/seq region/size/parts (mainly for FASTA)
split2split sequences into files by size/parts (FASTA, PE/SE FASTQ)
replacereplace name/sequence by regular expression
renamerename duplicated IDs
restartreset start position for circular genome
concatconcatenate sequences with same ID from multiple files
mutateedit sequence (point mutation, insertion, deletion)
sortsort sequences by id/name/sequence
versionprint version information and check for update
genautocompletegenerate shell autocompletion script
Go to Download Page for more download options and changelogs.
Method 1: Download binaries (latest stable/dev version)
Just download compressed
executable file of your operating system,
and decompress it with
tar -zxvf *.tar.gz command or other tools.
For Linux-like systems
If you have root privilege simply copy it to
sudo cp seqkit /usr/local/bin/
Or copy to anywhere in the environment variable
mkdir -p $HOME/bin/; cp seqkit $HOME/bin/
For windows, just copy
conda install -c bioconda seqkit
Method 3: Install via homebrew (latest stable version)
brew install brewsci/bio/seqkit
Method 4: For Go developer (latest stable/dev version)
go get -u github.com/shenwei356/seqkit/seqkit
Method 5: Docker based installation (latest stable/dev version)
git clone this repo:
git clone https://github.com/shenwei356/seqkit
Run the following commands:
cd seqkit docker build -t shenwei356/seqkit . docker run -it shenwei356/seqkit:latest
Note: The current version supports Bash only. This should work for *nix systems with Bash installed.
create and edit
~/.bash_completionfile if you don't have it.
add the following:
for bcfile in ~/.bash_completion.d/* ; do . $bcfile done
Technical details and guides for use
FASTA/Q format parsing
Seqkit does not call
pigz (much faster than
gzip to decompress .gz file if they are available.
So please install pigz to gain better parsing performance for gzipped data.
gzip any more since v0.8.1,
Because it does not always increase the speed.
But you can still utilize
pigz -d -c seqs.fq.gz | seqkit xxx.
Seqkit uses package pgzip to write gzip file,
which is very fast (10X of
gzip, 4X of
pigz) and the gzip file would be slighty larger.
Sequence formats and types
SeqKit seamlessly support FASTA and FASTQ format.
Sequence format is automatically detected.
All subcommands except for
faidx can handle both formats.
And only when some commands (
which utilise FASTA index to improve perfrmance for large files in two pass mode
--two-pass), only FASTA format is supported.
Sequence type (DNA/RNA/Protein) is automatically detected by leading subsequences
of the first sequences in file or STDIN. The length of the leading subsequences
is configurable by global flag
--alphabet-guess-seq-length with default value
of 10000. If length of the sequences is less than that, whole sequences will
By default, most softwares, including
seqkit, take the leading non-space
letters as sequence identifier (ID). For example,
|>123456 gene name||123456|
But for some sequences from NCBI,
>gi|110645304|ref|NC_002516.2| Pseudomona, the ID is
In this case, we could set sequence ID parsing regular expression by global flag
--id-regexp "\|([^\|]+)\| " or just use flag
--id-ncbi. If you want
gi number, then use
For some commands, including
when input files are (plain or gzipped) FASTA files,
FASTA index would be optional used for
rapid access of sequences and reducing memory occupation.
.seqkit.fai file created by SeqKit is slightly different from
samtools. SeqKit uses full sequence head instead of just ID as key.
Parallelization of CPU intensive jobs
The validation of sequences bases and complement process of sequences are parallelized for large sequences.
Parsing of line-based files, including BED/GFF file and ID list file are also parallelized.
The Parallelization is implemented by multiple goroutines in golang
which are similar to but much
lighter weight than threads. The concurrency number is configurable with global
--threads (default value: 1 for single-CPU PC, 2 for others).
Most of the subcommands do not read whole FASTA/Q records in to memory,
Note that when using
subseq --gtf | --bed, if the GTF/BED files are too
big, the memory usage will increase.
You could use
--chr to specify chromesomes and
--feature to limit features.
Some subcommands need to store sequences or heads in memory, but there are
strategy to reduce memory occupation, including
When comparing with sequences, MD5 digest could be used to replace sequence by
Some subcommands could either read all records or read the files twice by flag
They use FASTA index for rapid acccess of sequences and reducing memory occupation.
shuffle use random function, random seed could be
given by flag
--rand-seed). This makes sure that sampling result could be
reproduced in different environments with same random seed.
Usage && Examples
More details: http://bioinf.shenwei.me/seqkit/benchmark/
$ seqkit stat *.fa file format type num_seqs sum_len min_len avg_len max_len dataset_A.fa FASTA DNA 67,748 2,807,643,808 56 41,442.5 5,976,145 dataset_B.fa FASTA DNA 194 3,099,750,718 970 15,978,096.5 248,956,422 dataset_C.fq FASTQ DNA 9,186,045 918,604,500 100 100 100
SeqKit version: v0.3.1.1
W Shen, S Le, Y Li*, F Hu*. SeqKit: a cross-platform and ultrafast toolkit for FASTA/Q file manipulation. PLOS ONE. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163962.
We thank Lei Zhang for testing of SeqKit, and also thank Jim Hester, author of fasta_utilities, for advice on early performance improvements of for FASTA parsing and Brian Bushnell, author of BBMaps, for advice on naming SeqKit and adding accuracy evaluation in benchmarks. We also thank Nicholas C. Wu from the Scripps Research Institute, USA for commenting on the manuscript and Guangchuang Yu from State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, The University of Hong Kong, HK for advice on the manuscript.
We thank Li Peng for reporting many bugs.
Email me for any problem when using seqkit. shenwei356(at)gmail.com
Create an issue to report bugs, propose new functions or ask for help.