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Canu is a fork of the Celera Assembler, designed for high-noise single-molecule sequencing (such as the PacBio RS II/Sequel or Oxford Nanopore MinION).

Canu is a hierarchical assembly pipeline which runs in four steps:

  • Detect overlaps in high-noise sequences using MHAP
  • Generate corrected sequence consensus
  • Trim corrected sequences
  • Assemble trimmed corrected sequences


  • Do NOT download the .zip source code. It is missing files and will not compile. This is a known flaw with git itself.

  • The easiest way to get started is to download a binary release.

  • Installing with a 'package manager' is not encouraged, but if you have no other choice:

    • Conda: conda install -c conda-forge -c bioconda -c defaults canu
    • Homebrew: brew install brewsci/bio/canu
  • Alternatively, you can use the latest unreleased version from the source code. This version has not undergone the same testing as a release and so may have unknown bugs or issues generating sub-optimal assemblies. We recommend the release version for most users.

      git clone
      cd canu/src
      make -j <number of threads>
  • An unsupported Docker image made by Frank Förster is at


The quick start will get you assembling quickly, while the tutorial explains things in more detail.


Brief command line help:


Full list of parameters:

../<architecture>/bin/canu -options