Author image Christopher Fields
and 1 contributors


SYNOPSIS --host --dbname biosql \
                       --namespace swissprot --format swiss \
                       swiss_sptrembl swiss.dat primate.dat


This script loads a BioSQL database with sequences. There are a number of options that have to do with where the database is and how it's accessed and the format and namespace of the input files. These are followed by any number of file names. The files are assumed to be formatted identically with the format given by the --format flag. See below for more details.


The arguments after the named options constitute the filelist. If there are no such files, input is read from stdin. Default values for each parameter are shown in square brackets. Note that --bulk is no longer available.

--host $URL

The host name or IP address incl. port. The default is undefined, which will get interpreted differently depending on the driver. E.g., the mysql driver will assume localhost if host is undefined; the PostgreSQL driver will use a local (file-)socket connection to the local host, whereas it will use a TCP socket (which has to be enabled separately when starting the postmaster) if you specify 'localhost'; the Oracle driver doesn't need (or may even get confused by) a host name if the local tnsnames.ora can properly resolve the SID, which would be specified using --dbname.

--port $port

the port to which to connect; usually the default port chosen by the driver will be appropriate.

--dbname $db_name

the name of the schema [biosql]

--dbuser $username

database username [root]

--dbpass $password

password [undef]

--driver $driver

the DBI driver name for the RDBMS e.g., mysql, Pg, or Oracle [mysql]

--dsn dsn

Instead of providing the database connection and driver parameters individually, you may also specify the DBI-formatted DSN that is to be used verbatim for connecting to the database. Note that if you do give individual parameters in addition they will not supplant what is in the DSN string. Hence, the only database-related parameter that may be useful to specify in addition is --driver, as that is used also for selecting the driver-specific adaptors that generate SQL code. Usually, the driver will be parsed out from the DSN though and therefore will be set as well by setting the DSN.

Consult the POD of your DBI driver for how to properly format the DSN for it. A typical example is dbi:Pg:dbname=biosql; (for PostgreSQL). Note that the DSN will be specific to the driver being used.

--schema schemaname

The schema under which the BioSQL tables reside in the database. For Oracle and MySQL this is synonymous with the user, and won't have an effect. PostgreSQL since v7.4 supports schemas as the namespace for collections of tables within a database.

--initrc paramfile

Instead of, or in addition to, specifying every individual database connection parameter you may put them into a file that when read by perl evaluates to an array or hash reference. This option specifies the file to read; the special value DEFAULT (or no value) will use a file ./.bioperldb or $HOME/.bioperldb, whichever is found first in that order.

Constructing a file that evaluates to a hash reference is very simple. The first non-space character needs to be an open curly brace, and the last non-space character a closing curly brace. In between the curly braces, write option name enclosed in single quotes, followed by => (equal to or greater than), followed by the value in single quotes. Separate each such option/value pair by comma. Here is an example:

{ '-dbname' => 'mybiosql', '-host' => '', '-user' => 'cleo' }

Line breaks and white space don't matter (except if in the value itself). Also note that options only have a single dash as prefix, and they need to be those accepted by Bio::DB::BioDB->new() (Bio::DB::BioDB) or Bio::DB::SimpleDBContext->new() (Bio::DB::SimpleDBContext). Those sometimes differ slightly from the option names used by this script, e.g., --dbuser corresponds to -user.

Note also that using the above example, you can use it for --initrc and still connect as user caesar by also supplying --dbuser caesar on the command line. I.e., command line arguments override any parameters also found in the initrc file.

Finally, note that if using this option with default file name and the default file is not found at any of the default locations, the option will be ignored; it is not considered an error.

--namespace $namesp

The namespace under which the sequences in the input files are to be created in the database. Note that the namespace will be left untouched if the object to be submitted has it set already [bioperl].


flag to look-up by unique key first, converting the insert into an update if the object is found


Similar to --lookup, but only the 'flat' row for the object is looked up, meaning no children will be fetched and attached to the object. This is potentially much faster than a full recursive object retrieval, but as a result the retrieved object lacks all association properties (e.g., a flat Bio::SeqI object would lack all features and all annotation, but still have display_id, accession, version etc.). This option is therefore most useful if you want to delete found objects (--remove), as then any time spent on retrieving more than the row together with the primary key is wasted.


don't update if object is found (with --lookup)


flag to remove sequences before actually adding them (this necessitates a prior lookup)


flag to continue despite errors when loading (the entire object transaction will still be rolled back)


don't commit anything, rollback at the end


This may theoretically be any IO subsytem and the format understood by that subsystem to parse the input file(s). IO subsytem and format must be separated by a double colon. See below for which subsystems are currently supported.

The default IO subsystem is SeqIO. 'Bio::' will automatically be prepended if not already present. As of now the other supported subsystem is ClusterIO. All input files must have the same format.

Examples: # this is the default --format genbank # SeqIO format EMBL --format embl # Bio::ClusterIO stream with -format => 'unigene' --format ClusterIO::unigene


Use this argument to specify initialization parameters for the parser for the input format. The argument value is expected to be a string with parameter names and values delimited by commas.

Usually you will want to protect the argument list from interpretation by the shell, so surround it with double or single quotes.

If a parameter value contains a comma, escape it with a backslash (which means you also must protect the whole argument from the shell in order to preserve the backslash)


    # turn parser exceptions into warnings (don't try this at home)
    --fmtargs "-verbose,-1"
    # verbose parser with an additional path argument
    --fmtargs "-verbose,1,-indexpath,/home/luke/warp"
    # escape commas in values
    --fmtargs "-myspecialchar,\,"

This is a sequence of Bio::Factory::SeqProcessorI (see Bio::Factory::SeqProcessorI) implementing objects that will be instantiated and chained in exactly this order. This allows you to write re-usable modules for custom post-processing of objects after the stream parser returns them. See Bio::Seq::BaseSeqProcessor for a base implementation for such modules.

Modules are separated by the pipe character '|'. In addition, you can specify initialization parameters for each of the modules by enclosing a comma-separated list of alternating parameter name and value pairs in parentheses or angle brackets directly after the module.

This option will be ignored if no value is supplied.

Examples: # one module --pipeline "My::SeqProc" # two modules in the specified order --pipeline "My::SeqProc|My::SecondSeqProc" # two modules, the first of which has two initialization parameters --pipeline "My::SeqProc(-maxlength,1500,-minlength,300)|My::SecondProc"


This is either a string or a file defining a closure to be used as sequence filter. The value is interpreted as a file if it refers to a readable file, and a string otherwise. See add_condition() in Bio::Seq::SeqBuilder for more information about what the code will be used for. The closure will be passed a hash reference with an accumulated list of initialization paramaters for the prospective object. It returns TRUE if the object is to be built and FALSE otherwise.

Note that this closure operates at the stream parser level. Objects it rejects will be skipped by the parser. Objects it accepts can still be intercepted at a later stage (options --remove, --update, --noupdate, --mergeobjs).

Note that not necessarily all stream parsers support a Bio::Factory::ObjectBuilderI (see Bio::Factory::ObjectBuilderI) object. Email to find out which ones do. In fact, at the time of writing this, only Bio::SeqIO::genbank supports it.

This option will be ignored if no value is supplied.


This is also a string or a file defining a closure. If provided, the closure is called if a look-up for the unique key of the new object was successful. Hence, it will never be called without supplying --lookup at the same time.

Note that --noupdate will not prevent the closure from being called. I.e., if you make changes to the database in your merge script as opposed to only modifying the object, --noupdate will not prevent those changes. This is a feature, not a bug. Obviously, modifications to the in-memory object will have no effect with --noupdate since the database won't be updated with it.

The closure will be passed three arguments: the object found by lookup, the new object to be submitted, and the Bio::DB::DBAdaptorI (see Bio::DB::DBAdaptorI) implementing object for the desired database. If the closure returns a value, it must be the object to be inserted or updated in the database (if $obj->primary_key returns a value, the object will be updated). If it returns undef, the script will skip to the next object in the input stream.

The purpose of the closure can be manifold. It was originally conceived as a means to customarily merge attributes or associated objects of the new object to the existing (found) one in order to avoid duplications but still capture additional information (e.g., annotation). However, there is a multitude of other operations it can be used for, like physically deleting or altering certain associated information from the database (the found object and all its associated objects will implement Bio::DB::PersistentObjectI, see Bio::DB::PersistentObjectI). Since the third argument is the persistent object and adaptor factory for the database, there is literally no limit as to the database operations the closure could possibly do.

This option will be ignored if no value is supplied.


If supplied with an integer argument n greater than zero, progress will be logged to stderr every n entries of the input file(s). Default is no progress logging.


Turn on verbose and debugging mode. This will produce a *lot* of logging output, hence you will want to capture the output in a file. This option is useful if you get some mysterious failure somewhere in the events of loading or updating a record, and you would like to see, e.g., precisely which SQL statement fails. Usually you turn on this option because you've been asked to do so by a person responding after you posted your problem to the Bioperl mailing list.

-u, -z, or --uncompress

Uncompress the input file(s) on-the-fly by piping them through gunzip. Gunzip must be in your path for this option to work.

more args

The remaining arguments will be treated as files to parse and load. If there are no additional arguments, input is expected to come from standard input.


Ewan Birney <birney at> Mark Wilkinson <mwilkinson at> Hilmar Lapp <hlapp at> Chris Mungall <cjm at> Elia Stupka <elia at>