BigSeqKit: a parallel Big Data toolkit to process FASTA and FASTQ files at scale

Background. High-throughput sequencing technologies have led to an unprecedented explosion in the amounts of sequencing data available, which are typically stored using FASTA and FASTQ files. We can find in the literature several tools to process and manipulate those type of files with the aim of transforming sequence data into biological knowledge. However, none of them are well fitted for processing efficiently very large files, likely in the order of terabytes in the following years, since they are based on sequential processing. Only some routines of the well-known seqkit tool are partly parallelized. In any case, its scalability is limited to use few threads on a single computing node. Results. Our approach, BigSeqKit, takes advantage of an HPC-Big Data framework to parallelize and optimize the commands included in seqkit with the aim of speeding up the manipulation of FASTA/FASTQ files. In this way, in most cases it is from tens to hundreds of times faster than several state-of-the-art tools. At the same time, our toolkit is easy to use and install on any kind of hardware platform (local server or cluster), and its routines can be used as a bioinformatics library or from the command line. Conclusions. BigSeqKit is a very complete and ultra-fast toolkit to process and manipulate large FASTA and FASTQ files. It is publicly available at:

keywords: FASTA/FASTQ files, Performance, Parallel Computing, Big Data, Bioinformatics