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Copyright (C) 2009 Yu Peng (

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.


This software is suitable for all unix-like system with gcc installed.

Installation Guide

If you checkout the repo directly.

$ ./

If you use the release package.

Extract the package, then use make to compile the source code.

$ ./configure
$ make


IDBA is the basic iterative de Bruijn graph assembler for second-generation sequencing reads. IDBA-UD, an extension of IDBA, is designed to utilize paired-end reads to assemble low-depth regions and use progressive depth on contigs to reduce errors in high-depth regions. It is a generic purpose assembler and especially good for single-cell and metagenomic sequencing data. IDBA-Hybrid is another update version of IDBA-UD, which can make use of a similar reference genome to improve assembly result. IDBA-Tran is an iterative de Bruijn graph assembler for RNA-Seq data.

The basic IDBA is included for comparison, you should use more specific assemblers for your data. If you are assembling genomic data without reference, please use IDBA-UD. If you are assembling genomic data with a similar reference genome, please use IDBA-Hybrid. If you are assembling transcriptome data, please use IDBA-Tran.


Note that IDBA assemblers are designed for short reads (around 100bp). If you want to assemble paired-end reads with longer read length, please modify the constant kMaxShortSequence in src/sequence/short_sequence.h to support longer read length.

Please find the manual by running the assembler without any parameters. For example:

$ bin/idba

IDBA series assemblers accept FASTA format reads. FASTQ format reads can be converted by fq2fa program in the package.

$ bin/fq2fa read.fq read.fa

IDBA-UD, IDBA-Hybrid and IDBA-Tran require paired-end reads stored in the same FASTA file. A pair of reads should be in two consecutive lines. If not, please use fq2fa to merge two FASTQ read files to single file.

$ bin/fq2fa --merge --filter read_1.fq read_2.fq read.fa

or convert a FASTQ read file to FASTA file.

$ bin/fq2fa --paired --filter read.fq read.fa

This tool assumes that the paired-end reads are in order (->, <-). If your data is in reverse order (<-, ->), please convert it by yourself.

IDBA on Docker

A docker image was built for IDBA. Please use the following command to run IDBA-UD on Docker (assuming the input read file is in the current directory). If you are using Mac OS and see bus error, please try this image.

$ docker run -v `pwd`:/data -w /data loneknightpy/idba idba_ud  -r read.fa -o output
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