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A light-weight python package for summarizing sequence coverage from SAM and BAM files

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A light-weight python package for summarizing sequence coverage from SAM and BAM files

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Samsum is currently supported on Mac and Linux systems and has been tested primarily on Ubuntu operating systems (bionic and trusty distributions). It is a python package on the Python Package Index (PyPI) and can be installed using pip:

pip install samsum

Samsum can also be installed using conda with the command:

conda install -c bioconda samsum

You can also install samsum from source by cloning the directory from its GitHub page or downloading a GitHub release.

git clone
cd samsum
python3 sdist
pip install dist/samsum*tar.gz


samsum stats will read either a SAM or BAM file (this functionality will be implemented soon) and rapidly count the number of reads mapped to each reference sequence (e.g. contigs, scaffolds) while also keeping track of the reads that remain unmapped. This all occurs within the C++ Python extension. It will then read the reference FASTA file to gather the lengths of each reference sequence. Combining the read counts and sequence lengths, it will then calculate:

  • fragments per kilobase per million (FPKM)
  • transcripts per milllion (TPM)

Command-line options

By default, reads with multiple identical alignments (i.e. mapping quality is 0) are not included in these calculations. This can be toggled off to include these alignments with the --m flag. Another option is to drop counts for reference sequences if only a portion of a sequence is mapped to. With the -p argument, you can control the minimum proportion a reference sequence needs to be covered for its read counts to be included in the output; all stats are otherwise set to 0.

An example command is:

samsum stats -f ref.fasta -a alignments.sam --multireads -p 0.5 -o output_dir/samsum_table.tsv

This will include all alignments, regardless of their mapping quality but only report alignments for reference sequences that were covered across at least 50% of their length.


Being a python package, samsum can also be readily imported into python code and used via its API.

The function generally desired would be ref_sequence_abundances. Usage could be:

from samsum import commands
ref_seq_abunds = commands.ref_sequence_abundances(aln_file=sam, seq_file=fasta, min_aln=10, p_cov=0, map_qual=0)

The ref_seq_abunds object is a dictionary of RefSequence instances indexed by their header/sequence names. RefSequence objects have several variables that are of interest:

  • is the name of the (reference) sequence or header
  • self.length is the length (in base-pairs) of the sequence
  • self.reads_mapped is the number of reads that were mapped
  • self.weight_total is the number of fragments (float) that were mapped to the sequence
  • self.fpkm is Fragments Per Kilobase per Million mapped reads
  • self.tpm is Transcripts Per Million mapped reads


If samsum stats was executed, a "samsum_log.txt" file is written to the current working directory (i.e. where samsum was executed from). A comma-separated value (CSV) file with the fields "QueryName", "RefSequence", "ProportionCovered", "Coverage", "Fragments", "FPKM" and "TPM" is written to a file path specified on the command-line, or by default "samsum_table.csv". A TSV file can be written instead if the sep argument was modified to 'tab'.

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