This document describes the output produced by the analysis of targeted editing. Most of the plots are taken from the MultiQC report, which summarises results at the end of the pipeline.

The directories listed below will be created in the results directory after the pipeline has finished. All paths are relative to the top-level results directory.

Pipeline overview

The pipeline is built using Nextflow and processes data using the following steps:



Output files
  • preprocessing/sequences/
    • *_template.fasta: Provided template sequence.
    • _NewReference.fasta: New reference generated from adding the changes made by the template to the original reference.
    • *_template-align.bam: Alignment of the new reference (with template changes) to the original reference.

Contains the input sequences (reference, protospacer and template). Sequences are preprocessed as required:

  • The reference is returned in the correct orientation.


    In order to provide the reference in the correct orientation, the protospacer is searched in the reference sequence. The reverse complement is returned if the protospacer matches the reference in reverse complement.

  • The template is used to obtain a new reference with the expected changed.


Output files
  • preprocessing/cat/
    • *.merged.fastq.gz: Concatenated fastq files

If multiple libraries/runs have been provided for the same sample in the input samplesheet (e.g. to increase sequencing depth) then these will be merged at the very beginning of the pipeline in order to have consistent sample naming throughout the pipeline. Please refer to the usage documentation to see how to specify these samples in the input samplesheet.


Output files
  • preprocessing/pear/
    • *.assembled.fastq.gz: Assembled paired-end reads
    • *.discarded.fastq.gz: Discarded reads
    • *.unassembled.forward.fastq.gz: Unassembled paired-end reads - forward (R1)
    • *.unassembled.reverse.fastq.gz: Unassembled paired-end reads - reverse (R2)

PEAR is a pair-end read merger.


Output files
  • fastqc/
    • *_fastqc.html: FastQC report containing quality metrics.
    • * Zip archive containing the FastQC report, tab-delimited data file and plot images.

FastQC gives general quality metrics about your sequenced reads. It provides information about the quality score distribution across your reads, per base sequence content (%A/T/G/C), adapter contamination and overrepresented sequences. For further reading and documentation see the FastQC help pages.

MultiQC - FastQC sequence counts plot

MultiQC - FastQC mean quality scores plot

MultiQC - FastQC adapter content plot


The FastQC plots displayed in the MultiQC report shows untrimmed reads. They may contain adapter sequences and potentially regions with low quality.


Output files
  • preprocessing/adapters/
    • *_overrepresented.fasta: Contains overrepresented sequences found by FastQC

FastQC finds over-represented sequences in samples. It lists all of the sequence which make up more than 0.1% of the total reads. For each over-represented sequence the program will look for matches in a database of common contaminants and will report the best hit it finds. Hits must be at least 20bp in length and have no more than 1 mismatch.


Output files
  • preprocessing/cutadapt/
    • *.cutadapt.log: Cutadapt log file
    • *.trim.fastq.gz: Sample reads trimmed with overrepresented sequences removed


Output files
  • preprocessing/seqtk/
    • *.seqtk-seq.fastq.gz: Quality filtered reads.

Seqtk masks (converts to Ns) bases with quality lower than 20 and removes sequences shorter than 80 bases.

UMI clustering


Output files
  • vsearch/
    • *_clusters*: Contains all UMI sequences which clustered together.
    • *_clusters*_top.fasta: Contains the most abundant UMI sequence from the cluster.

VSEARCH is a versatile open-source tool which includes chimera detection, clustering, dereplication and rereplication, extraction, FASTA/FASTQ/SFF file processing, masking, orienting, pair-wise alignment, restriction site cutting, searching, shuffling, sorting, subsampling, and taxonomic classification of amplicon sequences for metagenomics, genomics, and population genetics. vsearch/clsuter can cluster sequences using a single-pass, greedy centroid-based clustering algorithm. vsearch/sort can sort fasta entries by decreasing abundance (--sortbysize) or sequence length (--sortbylength).


Output files
  • minimap2_umi/
    • *_sequences_clycle[1,2].paf: Alignment of the cluster sequences against the top UMi sequence in paf format.

Minimap2 is a sequence alignment program that aligns DNA sequences against a reference database.


Output files
  • racon/
    • *_sequences_clycle[1,2]_assembly_consensus.fasta.gz: Consensus sequence obtained from the cluster multiple sequence alignment.

Racon is an ultrafast consensus module for raw de novo genome assembly of long uncorrected reads.


Output files
  • medaka/
    • *_medakaConsensus.fasta: Final consensus sequence of each UMI cluster. Obtained after two rounds of minimap2 + racon.

Medaka is a tool to create consensus sequences and variant calls from nanopore sequencing data.



Output files
  • minimap2/
    • *.bam: BAM file containing aligned reads
    • *.bai: BAI index

Minimap2 is a sequence alignment program that aligns DNA sequences against a reference database.


Output files
  • bwa/
    • *.bam: BAM file containing aligned reads
    • *.bai: BAI index

BWA-MEM BWA is a software package for mapping low-divergent sequences against a reference genome.


Output files
  • bowtie2/
    • *.bam: BAM file containing aligned reads
    • *.bai: BAI index

Bowtie2 aligns sequencing reads to reference sequences.

Edits calling

This section contains the final output of the pipeline. It contains information about the type and abundance of editions produced by CRISPR found in each sample.


Output files
  • cigar/
    • *_cutSite.json: Contains the protospacer cut site position in the reference.
    • *_edition.html: Interactive pie chart with the percentage of edition types. Reads are classified between WT (without an edit) and indels. Indels are divided between deletions, insertions and delins (deletion + insertion). Deletions and insertions can be out of frame or in frame. A similar plot can be visualised in the MultiQC report. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a edition plot
    • *_edits.csv: Table containing the number of reads classified to each edition type. Contains the data visualized in the pie chart.
    • *_indels.csv: Table containing information of all reads. Edit type, edit start and length, if the edition happens above the error rate, if it’s located into the common edit window, the frequency, the percentage, the pattern, surrounding nucleotides in case of insertions, the protospacer cut site, the sample id, number of aligned reads and number of reads with and without a template modification.
    • *_QC-indels.html: Interactive pie chart with information about aligned reads. Reads are classified between WT and containing indels. Both types are classified between passing the filtering steps or not. Indel reads passing the filtering steps are divided in reads with a modification above the error rate and located in the common edit window, above the error rate but not in the edit region, vice versa, or any of those conditions. A similar plot can be visualised in the MultiQC report. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a QC indels plot
    • *_reads.html: Interactive pie chart with percentage of the number of raw reads, reads merged with Pear, reads passing quality filters and UMI clustered reads. A table with this information can be visualised in the MultiQC report. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a reads plot
    • *_subs-perc.csv: Table containing the percentage of each nucleotide found for each reference position.

Output plots

Output files
  • plots/
    • *_accumulative.html: Interactive barplot showing the accumulative deletions and insertions. x-axis represents the reference position. y-axis represents the percentage of reads containing a deletion or insertion in that position. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a accumulative edition plot
    • *_delAlleles_plot.png: Image showing the most common deletions found. x-axis represents the position. y-axis indicates the percentage in which the plotted deletion is observed (in respect of all deletions), followed by the length of the deletion. Dashes - indicate a deleted base. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a deletion alleles plot
    • *_Deletions.html: Interactive barplot showing the percentage of reads showing a deletion for each position and the deletion sizes. The left panel represents the percentage of reads having a deletion for each position (similar to *_accumulative.html). The right panel shows the number of deletions found relative to their size. The deleted sequences found are shown coloured in the stacked barplot. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a deletions plot
    • *_Insertions.html: Interactive barplot showing the percentage of reads showing an insertion for each position as well as the insertion sizes. The left panel represents the percentage of reads having an insertion for each position (similar to *_accumulative.html). The right panel shows the number of insertions found relative to their size. The inserted sequences found are shown coloured in the stacked barplot. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a insertions plot
    • *_subs-perc_plot_LOGO.png: LOGO showing the most represented nucleotide and its percentage (y-axis) for protospacer positions. PAM sequence is highlighted in yellow. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a substitutions LOGO
    • *_subs-perc_plot.png: Barplot showing the most represented nucleotide and its percentage (y-axis and bar tags) for +/-25 positions surrounding the cut site. The protospacer sequence is highlighted by writing the sequence base in the y axis. Bases whose percentage is higher than 90% are not colored. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a substitutions percentage plot
    • *_top-alleles_LOGO.png: LOGO showing the 4 most represented editions. Cut site is highlighted with a vertical red line. The type of edition and start position are shown as a title to each LOGO. Deleted bases are not drawn. Inserted bases are highlighted in yellow. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a top alleles LOGO
    • *_top.html: Interactive pie chart showing the percentage of the top 4 editions found. The percentage of WT is also shown. Editions are named after the position, the type of edition and length and the sequence. Test sample hCas9-AAVS1-a top alleles plot


Output files
  • multiqc/
    • multiqc_report.html: a standalone HTML file that can be viewed in your web browser.
    • multiqc_data/: directory containing parsed statistics from the different tools used in the pipeline.
    • multiqc_plots/: directory containing static images from the report in various formats.

MultiQC is a visualisation tool that generates a single HTML report summarising all samples in your project. Most of the pipeline QC results are visualised in the report and further statistics are available in the report data directory.

Results generated by MultiQC collate pipeline QC from supported tools e.g. FastQC. The pipeline has special steps which also allow the software versions to be reported in the MultiQC output for future traceability. For more information about how to use MultiQC reports, see

multiqc_report.html contains statistics for FastQC and Cutadapt modules. It also contains a table with statistics about read processing (equivalent to <outdir>/cigar/*_reads.html plots), and plots summarising the found editions (equivalent to <outdir>/cigar/*_edition.html plots) and indel quality filters (equivalent to <outdir>/cigar/*_QC-indels.html plots).

Custom sections example

Read processing table Type of edition plot QC of indels plot

Pipeline information

Output files
  • pipeline_info/
    • Reports generated by Nextflow: execution_report.html, execution_timeline.html, execution_trace.txt and
    • Reports generated by the pipeline: pipeline_report.html, pipeline_report.txt and software_versions.yml. The pipeline_report* files will only be present if the --email / --email_on_fail parameter’s are used when running the pipeline.
    • Reformatted samplesheet files used as input to the pipeline: samplesheet.valid.csv.

Nextflow provides excellent functionality for generating various reports relevant to the running and execution of the pipeline. This will allow you to troubleshoot errors with the running of the pipeline, and also provide you with other information such as launch commands, run times and resource usage.