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This page describes Bio.AlignIO, a new multiple sequence Alignment Input/Output interface for BioPython which is currently only in our source code repository. It should be included in the next release of Biopython.


You may already be familiar with the Bio.SeqIO module which deals with files containing one or more sequences represented as SeqRecord objects. The purpose of the SeqIO module is to provide a simple uniform interface to assorted file formats.

Similarly, Bio.AlignIO deals with files containing one or more sequence alignments represented as Alignment objects. Bio.AlignIO uses the same set of functions for input and output as in Bio.SeqIO, and the same names for the file formats supported.

Note that the inclusion of Bio.AlignIO does lead to some duplication or choice in how to deal with some file formats. For example, Bio.SeqIO and Bio.Clustalw will both read sequences from Clustal files - but Bio.Clustalw also includes a command line wrapper to call the program.

My vision is that for manipulating sequence alignments you should try Bio.AlignIO as your first choice. In some cases you may only care about the sequences themselves, in which case try using Bio.SeqIO on the alignment file directly. Unless you have some very specific requirements, I hope this should suffice.


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