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Public MySQL Database

Rfam provides a public read-only MySQL database containing the latest version of Rfam data. The database will be updated with each release. To access old versions of the database download SQL dumps from the FTP archive.


For advanced examples of using the public database, please see our paper in Current Protocols in Bioinformatics.

Connection details

Parameter Value
user rfamro
password none
port 4497
database Rfam

You can connect to the database on command line:

mysql --user rfamro --host --port 4497 --database Rfam

or use MySQL clients such as MySQL Workbench or Sequel Pro.

If your computer is behind a firewall, please ensure that outgoing TCP/IP connections to the corresponding ports are allowed.

Main tables

The most important tables are listed below and can be used as starting points for exploring the schema:

Table Description
family a list of all Rfam families and family specific information (family accession, family name, description etc.)
rfamseq a list of all analysed sequences including INSDC accessions, taxonomy id etc.
full_region a list of all sequences annotated with Rfam families including INSDC accessions, start and end coordinates, bit scores etc.
clan description of all Rfam clans
clan_membership a list of all Rfam families per clan
taxonomy NCBI taxonomy identifiers

Rfam core tables

Example queries

Retrieve all rat sequence coordinates annotated with Rfam families

While it is possible to get a list of Rfam families found in a species using the taxonomy search, with an SQL query one can access sequence coordinates of each ncRNA:

SELECT fr.rfam_acc, fr.rfamseq_acc, fr.seq_start, fr.seq_end
FROM full_region fr, rfamseq rf, taxonomy tx
WHERE rf.ncbi_id = tx.ncbi_id
AND fr.rfamseq_acc = rf.rfamseq_acc
AND tx.ncbi_id = 10116 -- NCBI taxonomy id of Rattus norvegicus
AND is_significant = 1 -- exclude low-scoring matches from the same clan

Example output:

RF01942       AABR05000009.1  211     327
RF00005       AABR05000052.1  4940    5008

Retrieve all snoRNA families found in Mammals

SELECT fr.rfam_acc, fr.rfamseq_acc, fr.seq_start, fr.seq_end, f.type
FROM full_region fr, rfamseq rf, taxonomy tx, family f
rf.ncbi_id = tx.ncbi_id
AND f.rfam_acc = fr.rfam_acc
AND fr.rfamseq_acc = rf.rfamseq_acc
AND tx.tax_string LIKE '%Mammalia%'
AND f.type LIKE '%snoRNA%'
AND is_significant = 1 -- exclude low-scoring matches from the same clan

Example output:

RF00012       AAYZ01671298.1  83      298     Gene; snRNA; snoRNA; CD-box;
RF00012       AAYZ01122278.1  302     87      Gene; snRNA; snoRNA; CD-box;