This document describes the output produced by the nf-core/nanoseq pipeline. Most of the plots shown here are taken from the MultiQC report, which summarises the pipeline results.

Pipeline overview

The nf-core/nanoseq pipeline is built using Nextflow. There are many different potential outputs for the pipeline depending on what file inputs and parameters you use. Please see main for a condensed overview of the steps in the pipeline and the bioinformatics tools used at each step.

See Oxford NanoPore website for more information regarding the sequencing technology, protocol, and for an extensive list of additional resources.

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

Basecalling and demultiplexing

Output files
  • guppy/fastq/<barcode*>.fastq.gz: merged FASTQ output files for each barcode.
  • guppy/basecalling/pass/<barcode*>/<fastq_runid*>.fastq.gz: passing FASTQ output file for each barcode.
  • guppy/basecalling/pass/unclassified/<fastq_runid*>.fastq.gz: passing FASTQ files with reads were unassigned to any given barcode.
  • guppy/basecalling/fail/<barcode*>/<fastq_runid*>.fastq.gz: failing FASTQ output file for each barcode.
  • guppy/basecalling/fail/unclassified/<fastq_runid*>.fastq.gz: failing FASTQ files with reads were unassigned to any given barcode.
  • guppy/basecalling/sequencing_summary.txt: sequencing summary file generated by Guppy.
  • guppy/basecalling/sequencing_telemetry.js: sequencing telemetry file generated by Guppy.
  • guppy/basecalling/guppy_basecaller_log-<date>.log: log file generated by Guppy.
  • demux_fast5/demultiplexed_fast5/<barcode*>/: directory containing .fast5 and .txt file for each barcode.
  • demux_fast5/demultiplexed_fast5/unclassified/: directory containing .fast5 and .txt file for reads that were not unassigned to any given barcode.
  • qcat/fastq/<barcode*>.fastq.gz: FASTQ output files for each barcode.
  • qcat/fastq/none.fastq.gz: FASTQ file with reads were unassigned to any given barcode.

Documentation: Guppy, demux_fast5, qcat

Description: Nanoseq is designed to deal with various input data types. Guppy can be used to basecall raw data which can then be demultiplexed using demux. Alternatively, demux can be used to demultiplex FAST5 data that has already been basecalled. Various options are available to customising these steps, including running Guppy on GPUs if they are available. If you already have a pre-basecalled FASTQ file then qcat can used to perform demultiplexing. The --skip_basecalling and --skip_demultiplexing parameters can be used seperately or together to skip steps depending on your input data type. Please see for more details about the format of the input samplesheet. All potential outputs are shown here however some may not be produced depending on your inputs and the steps you have chosen to run.

Removal of DNA contaminants

Output files
  • nanolyse/<SAMPLE>.fastq.gz: FASTQ file after the removal of reads that map to DNA contaminants.
  • nanolyse/<SAMPLE>.nanolyse.log: NanoLyse log file.

Documentation: NanoLyse

Description: If you would like to run NanoLyse on the raw FASTQ files you can provide --run_nanolyse when running the pipeline. By default, the pipeline will filter lambda phage reads. However, you can provide your own FASTA file of “contaminants” with --nanolyse_fasta. The filtered FASTQ files will contain raw reads without the specified reference sequences (default: lambda phage sequences).

Sequencing QC

Output files
  • pycoqc/pyoqc.html: HTML file that contains a run summary and graphical representation of various QC metrics.
  • pycoqc/pyoqc.json: JSON formatted file containing QC data shown in the HTML report.
  • nanoplot/summary/: directory with various *.html files showing QC metrics and a single NanoPlot .log file.

Documentation: PycoQC, NanoPlot

Description: PycoQC and NanoPlot can compute QC metrics and generate plots using the sequencing summary information generated by Guppy, e.g., distribution of read length, read length over time, number of reads per barcode and other general stats. NanoPlot can also generate QC metrics directly from FASTQ files as described in the next section.

PycoQC - Number of reads per barcode

Read QC

Output files
  • nanoplot/fastq/<SAMPLE>/: directory with various *.html files containing QC metrics and plots.
  • fastqc/<SAMPLE>_fastqc.html: FastQC *.html file for each sample.
  • fastqc/<SAMPLE> FastQC *.zip file for each sample.

Documentation: NanoPlot, FastQC

Description: NanoPlot can be used to produce general quality metrics from the per barcode FASTQ files generated by Guppy e.g. quality score distribution, read lengths, and other general stats.

Nanoplot - Read quality vs read length

FastQC can give general quality metrics about your reads. It can provide information about the quality score distribution across your reads, and the per-base sequence content (%A/C/G/T). You can also generate information about adapter contamination and other over-represented sequences.


Output files
  • <ALIGNER>/<SAMPLE>.sorted.bam: per sample coordinate sorted BAM file.
  • <ALIGNER>/<SAMPLE>.sorted.bam.bai: per sample coordinate sorted BAM index file.
  • <ALIGNER>/samtools_stats/: directory with per sample *.flagstat, *.idxstats and *.stats files generated by Samtools.

Documentation: GraphMap2, MiniMap2, Samtools

Description: Reads are mapped to a user-defined genome or transcriptome using either GraphMap2 or Minimap2. The resulting BAM file is sorted and indexed using Samtools. If the same reference is specified multiple times in the input sample sheet then the aligner index will only be built once for re-use across all samples. You can skip the alignment and downstream processes by providing the --skip_alignment parameter.

The initial SAM alignment file created by GraphMap2 or Minimap2 are not saved by default to be more storage space efficient. You can override this behaviour by using the --save_align_intermeds parameter.

MultiQC - Samtools stats plot

Coverage tracks

Output files
  • <ALIGNER>/bigwig/: directory with per sample *.bigWig and *.bedGraph file.
  • <ALIGNER>/bigbed/: directory with per sample *.bigBed and *bed12 file.

Documentation: BEDTools, bedGraphToBigWig, bedToBigBed

Description: The bigWig format is an indexed binary format useful for displaying dense, continuous data in Genome Browsers such as the UCSC and IGV. This mitigates the need to load the much larger BAM file for data visualisation purposes which will be slower and result in memory issues. The bigWig format is also supported by various bioinformatics software for downstream processing such as meta-profile plotting.

bigBed are more useful for displaying distribution of reads across exon intervals as is typically observed for RNA-seq data. Therefore, these files will only be generated if --protocol directRNA or --protocol cDNA are defined.

The creation of these bigwig and bigbed files can be bypassed by setting the --skip_bigwig and --skip_bigbed parameters, respectively.

Variant calling

Output files

Short variant callers

  • Medaka:

    • variant_calling/medaka_variant/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz: zipped VCF file with small variants.
    • variant_calling/medaka_variant/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz: index for zipped VCF file with small variants.
  • DeepVariant:

    • variant_calling/deepvariant/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz: zipped VCF file with small variants.
    • variant_calling/deepvariant/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz.tbi: index for zipped VCF file with small variants.
  • PEPPER-Margin-DeepVariant:

    • variant_calling/margin_pepper_deepvariant/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz: zipped VCF file with small variants.
    • variant_calling/margin_pepper_deepvariant/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz.tbi: index for zipped VCF file with small variants.

Structural variant callers

  • Sniffles

    • variant_calling/cutesv/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz: zipped VCF file with smtructural variants.
    • variant_calling/cutesv/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz.tbi: index for zipped VCF file with structural variants.
  • cuteSV

    • variant_calling/sniffles/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz: zipped VCF file with smtructural variants.
    • variant_calling/sniffles/<SAMPLE>.vcf.gz.tbi: index for zipped VCF file with structural variants.

Documentation: Medaka, DeepVariant, PEPPER-Margin-DeepVariant, Sniffles, cuteSV

Description: If the --protocol DNA and the --call_variants parameters are defined then both small and structural variant variant calls can be generated. Short variants can be called using medaka, deepvariant or pepper_margin_deepvariant. The short variant caller is specified using the --variant_caller parameter. Structural variants can be called using either cuteSV or sniffles. The structural variant caller is specified using the --structural_variant_caller parameter. The short variant and/or structural variant calling steps is skipped if using the --skip_vc and --skip_sniffles flags.

Transcript Reconstruction and Quantification

Output files

If bambu is used:

  • bambu/
    • extended_annotations.gtf: a GTF file that contains both annotated and novel transcripts.
    • counts_gene.txt: a TXT file containing gene expression estimates.
    • counts_transcript.txt: a TXT file containing transcript expression estimates.

If StringTie2 is used:

  • stringtie2/
    • *.bam: per sample coordinate sorted alignment file.
    • *.stringtie.gtf: per sample annotations for novel transcripts obtained in StringTie2.
    • stringtie.merged.gtf: extended annotation that combines provided GTF with GTF file from each sample via StringTie2 Merge.
    • counts_gene.txt: gene expression estimates calculated by featureCounts.
    • counts_gene.txt.summary: FeatureCounts gene level log file.
    • counts_transcript.txt: transcript expression estimates calculated by featureCounts.
    • counts_transcript.txt.summary: FeatureCounts transcript level log file.

Documentation: bambu, StringTie2, featureCounts

Description: After genomic alignment, novel transcripts can be reconstructed using tools such as bambu and StringTie2. Quantification can then be performed on a more complete annotation based on the transcripts detected within a given set of samples. bambu performs both the reconstruction and quantification steps. An an alternative approach, we also provides an option to run StringTie2 to identify novel transcripts. However, when multiple samples are provided, quantification for multiple samples are not implemented explicitly in the software. Hence a second step is required to merge novel transcripts across multiple samples followed by quantification for both gene and transcripts using featureCounts. You can skip transcript reconstruction and quantification by providing the --skip_quantification parameter.

Differential expression analysis

Output files
  • <QUANTIFICATION_METHOD>/deseq2/deseq2.results.txt: a TXT file that contains differential gene expression.
  • <QUANTIFICATION_METHOD>/dexseq/dexseq.results.txt: a TXT file that contains differential transcript expression.

Documentation: DESeq2, DEXSeq

Description: If multiple conditions and multiple replicates are available then the pipeline is able to run differential analysis on gene and transcripts with DESeq2 and DEXSeq, respectively. These steps won’t be run if you provide the --skip_quantification or --skip_differential_analysis parameters or if all of the samples in the samplesheet don’t have the same FASTA and GTF reference files.

RNA modification analysis

Output files
  • rna_modifications/xpore/diffmod/diffmod_outputs/diffmod.table: a table file that contains differentially modified sites.
  • rna_modifications/m6anet/inference/<sample_name>/data.result.csv.gz: a CSV file that contains m6A sites.

Documentation: xPore, m6anet

Description: If multiple conditions are available then the pipeline is able to run differential modification analysis with xPore. These steps won’t be run if you provide the --skip_modification_analysis or --skip_xpore or --skip_m6anet parameters.

RNA fusion analysis

Output files
  • jaffal/jaffa_results.csv: a CSV file that contains RNA fusion results.
  • jaffal/jaffa_results.fasta: a FASTA file that contains the sequence of the RNA fusions.

Documentation: jaffal

Description: This step won’t be run if you provide the --skip_fusion_analysis parameter.


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

Documentation: MultiQC

Description: 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 within the report data directory.

Results generated by MultiQC for this pipeline collate QC from FastQC, samtools flagstat, samtools idxstats and samtools stats.

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

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* file will only be present if the --email / --email_on_fail parameter’s are used when running the pipeline.
    • Reformatted samplesheet file used as the pipeline input: samplesheet.valid.csv.

Documentation: Nextflow

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