Short command lines for manipulation FASTQ and FASTA sequence files

I thought it was time for me to compile all the short command that I use on a more or less regular basis to manipulate sequence files.

Convert a multi-line fasta to a singleline fasta

awk '!/^>/ { printf "%s", $0; n = "\n" } /^>/ { print n $0; n = "" } END { printf "%s", n }' sample1.fa > sample1_singleline.fa


To convert a fastq file to fasta in a single line using sed

sed '/^@/!d;s//>/;N' sample1.fq > sample1.fa


Dirty way to count the number of sequences in a fastq

grep -c '^@' sample1.fq

It’s dirty because sometimes the quality information line may also start with “@” so the number of sequences could be overestimated.

A more precise way is to count the lines and divide by four:

cat sample1.fq | echo $((`wc -l`/4))

One liner to remove the description information from a fasta file and just keep the identifier

perl -p -i -e 's/>(.+?) .+/>$1/g' sample1.fa


Get all the identifier names from a fasta file

perl -ne 'if(/^>(\S+)/){print "$1\n"}' sample1.fa


Extract sequences by their ID from a fasta file
For example, you want to get the sequences with id1 and id2 as identifiers

perl -ne 'if(/^>(\S+)/){$c=grep{/^$1$/}qw(id1 id2)}print if $c' sample1.fa

If you have a long list of identifiers in a file called ids.txt, then the following should do the trick:

perl -ne 'if(/^>(\S+)/){$c=$i{$1}}$c?print:chomp;$i{$_}=1 if @ARGV' ids.txt sample1.fa


Convert from a two column text tab-delimited file (ID and sequence) to a fasta file

awk -vOFS='' '{print ">",$1,"\n",$2,"\n";}' two_column_sample_tab.txt > sample1.fa


Get the length of a fasta sequence (the sequence must in singleline)

cat sample1_singleline.fa | awk 'NR%2==0' | awk '{print length($1)}'


I’ll update this when I find some more useful single line commands for manipulation fastq and fasta files.

Please post comments if you have some suggestions.


Categories: awk, Perl, UNIX