Welcome to Tombo’s documentation!

Tombo is a suite of tools primarily for the identification of modified nucleotides from nanopore sequencing data.

Tombo also provides tools for the analysis and visualization of raw nanopore signal.


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Basic tombo installation (python 2.7 and 3.4+ support)

# install via bioconda environment
conda install -c bioconda ont-tombo

# or install pip package (numpy install required before tombo for cython optimization)
pip install numpy
pip install ont-tombo[full]

See Tombo Commands for common workflows.

Quick Start

Call 5mC and 6mA sites from raw nanopore read files. Then output genome browser wiggle format file for 5mA calls and plot raw signal around most significant 6mA sites.

# skip this step if FAST5 files already contain basecalls
tombo preprocess annotate_raw_with_fastqs --fast5-basedir path/to/fast5s/ \
    --fastq-filenames basecalls1.fastq basecalls2.fastq \
    --sequencing-summary-filenames seq_summary1.txt seq_summary2.txt \
    --processes 4

tombo resquiggle path/to/fast5s/ genome.fasta --processes 4
tombo detect_modifications alternative_model --fast5-basedirs path/to/fast5s/ \
    --statistics-file-basename sample.alt_modified_base_detection \
    --per-read-statistics-basename sample.alt_modified_base_detection \
    --alternate-bases 5mC 6mA --processes 4

# produces "estimated fraction of modified reads" genome browser files
# for 5mC testing
tombo text_output browser_files --statistics-filename sample.alt_modified_base_detection.5mC.tombo.stats \
    --file-types dampened_fraction --browser-file-basename sample.alt_modified_base_detection.5mC
# and 6mA testing (along with coverage bedgraphs)
tombo text_output browser_files --statistics-filename sample.alt_modified_base_detection.6mA.tombo.stats \
    --fast5-basedirs path/to/fast5s/  --file-types dampened_fraction coverage\
    --browser-file-basename sample.alt_modified_base_detection.6mA

# plot raw signal at most significant locations
tombo plot most_significant --fast5-basedirs path/to/fast5s/ \
    --statistics-filename sample.alt_modified_base_detection.6mA.tombo.stats \
    --plot-standard-model --plot-alternate-model 6mA \
    --pdf-filename sample.most_significant_6mA_sites.pdf

Detect any deviations from expected signal levels for canonical bases to investigate any type of modification.

tombo resquiggle path/to/fast5s/ genome.fasta --processes 4
tombo detect_modifications de_novo --fast5-basedirs path/to/fast5s/ \
    --statistics-file-basename sample.de_novo_modified_base_detection \
    --per-read-statistics-basename sample.de_novo_modified_base_detection \
    --processes 4

# produces sample.de_novo_modified_base_detection.dampened_fraction.[plus|minus].wig files
tombo text_output browser_files --statistics-filename sample.de_novo_modified_base_detection.tombo.stats \
    --browser-file-basename sample.de_novo_modified_base_detection --file-types dampened_fraction


All of these commands work for RNA data as well, but a transcriptome reference sequence must be provided for spliced transcripts.

Run tombo -h to see all Tombo command groups, run tombo [command-group] -h to see all commands within each group and run tombo [command-group] [comand] -h for help with arguments to each Tombo command.

Detailed documentation for all Tombo algorithms and commands can be found through the links here.


Tombo Ahi is a Japanese name for albacore (the name of the Oxford Nanopore Technologies basecaller). So use albacore to identify canonical bases and then use Tombo to detect more exotic, non-canonical bases.

Documentation Index