Question: Problem with MAFFT Multiple Sequence Alignment
gravatar for peifei0418
10 weeks ago by
peifei04180 wrote:

Hi guys, I ran MSA with MAFFT (FFT-NS-i method with two cycles) in my university server, which has 31.3GB memory and 31.9GB swap memory. My input file has 8579 sequences (All human coronaviruses) [~253MB]. The job has running for 5 days already and suddenly the job has been killed not long ago (after I logged out from the server for a few mins). Here is the statement/program lines has appeared:

/usr/local/bin/mafft: line 2604: 25726 Killed "$prefix/dvdr" -W $minimumweight $bunkatsuopt -E $fixthreshold -s $unalignlevel $legacygapopt $mergearg $outnum -C $numthreadsit -t $randomseed $rnaoptit $memopt $scorecalcopt $localparam -z 50 $seqtype $model -f "-"$gop -Q $spfactor -h $aof -I $iterate $weightopt $treeinopt $algoptit $treealg -p $parallelizationstrategy $scoreoutarg -K $nadd < pre > /dev/null 2>> "$progressfile"

I've been watching the status of the server when the MSA job is running and I realised MAFFT took a lot of memory space to run MSA (particularly this iterative refinement method). The used memory space can go as high as 97% (30.9G/31.3G). And today I saw the memory swap went high as well, the highest memory swap is 29-30+G/31.9G (I couldnt remember the specific number of I think is around this range).

I thought I accidentally killed the job before I detached the screen but I remembered clearly I didnt killed the job. If I killled the job the program lines above would not appeared. So I tried to search the cause of the job killed and I saw from a forum that people might it could be because of memory problem. I am not sure is it because of memory space issue. Hence, can anyone explain me why my job/process get killed?

Thank you in advanced for all the suggestions and explanations and I will appreciate all the responses. :)))

mafft error msa alignment genome • 226 views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 5 weeks ago by wook10 • written 10 weeks ago by peifei04180

MAFFT online server ( is a very good option as an alternative.

ADD REPLYlink written 10 weeks ago by Shaminur150

Hi there, I have tried MAFFT online server but my sequence data are too big to run in MAFFT server. My job get killed when I tried in MAFFT server due to time restriction. MAFFT online server only allows users' MSA job to run for 24 hours. After 24 hours the server will automatically terminate your job. This is why I've been using my university's server due to time restriction by MAFFT server.

ADD REPLYlink written 10 weeks ago by peifei04180

Hi, Why not try with this version ( you can find some information here. Thank you.

ADD REPLYlink modified 10 weeks ago • written 10 weeks ago by Shaminur150
gravatar for wook
5 weeks ago by
wook10 wrote:

I recently met up with the same problem (line 2604: XXXX Killed). I found that this is because I used an old version of mafft. Mafft added a function of "Rapid calculation of full-length MSA of closely-related viral genomes" ( , it also mentioned that "On command line, use version 7.467 or later. Earlier versions (≤7.458) had the same options but were inefficient for this purpose. " Therefore I think you should check your mafft version first.

ADD COMMENTlink written 5 weeks ago by wook10
gravatar for Mensur Dlakic
10 weeks ago by
Mensur Dlakic9.0k
Mensur Dlakic9.0k wrote:

You already asked about it before running this task, but I can't blame you for wanting to find out on your own. There can't be more than one or two multiple sequence alignment programs that can handle the number and length of sequences you are trying to align. MAFFT is not one of them, and it certainly doesn't help that you are working with relatively modest memory.

The bottom line is that your combination of RAM memory and swap is not enough for this task, so once the job reaches the limit there is nothing else for the system to do but to kill it. Regardless of what program you choose in the end, I think you should think about 128 Gb or RAM and the same or double in swap space.

Maybe one of these programs can do what you want:

ADD COMMENTlink written 10 weeks ago by Mensur Dlakic9.0k
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