I collected my own denovo library using many different tools Pipeline (structure-based ) and I updated all the headers corresponding to RepeatMasker format, to obtain Repeat coverage in the genome and .tbl annotation.

when I run repeatmasker the annotation results assume to be Homosapien, where Homo annotation table ( .tbl) is limited as shown below Table (1)

Actually my denovo repeat library consists of more than what is in the table above, example, rolling circles, Copia, Gypsy etc..

RepeatMasker -Lib myOwnLibrary.fa Mygenome.fa

Table (1)

enter image description here

My question is how can I run RepeatMasker with my own library using -lib Flag and result like the table (2) below,

the table below assume to be vertebrates genome, this is my aim.

RepeatMasker -Species Vertebrates Mygenome.fa

Table (2)

enter image description here


  • $\begingroup$ Hello, a legit question. Could you also add the command you used to run the repeatMasker? Also, what is the second table? is it another repeatMasker run you did? $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2020 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ yes. it is another run, I updated the question $\endgroup$
    – BioInfo
    Feb 19, 2020 at 11:44

2 Answers 2


After long years of just conceptual knowledge of what the software does, I was dealing with RepearMasker this week. So, I am not entirely sure I am correct, but this is how I understand it.

The two flags you explored serve for different scenarios:

  • -species - if the taxa/species is present in the repeat database (repBase or Dfam)
  • -lib - if you want to give repeatModeler something different.

In your case it seems like your library is completely missing all LINEs, SINEs and a few others. What you can do is to get from the database all repetitions of the corresponding taxa and catinate it with the repeats you are interested in (the one you supplied in the -lib argument in the first command).

util/queryRepeatDatabase.pl -species Vertebrates > flavoured_vertebrate_repetitions.lib
cat myOwnLibrary.fa >> flavoured_vertebrate_repetitions.lib
RepeatMasker -lib flavoured_vertebrate_repetitions.lib Mygenome.fa

This should produce annotation similar to the bottom case, but also using the repetitions you manually added.

P.S. util/queryRepeatDatabase.pl is a script to query the database of repeats and it is shipped together with repeatModeler.

-- edit --

The TE classification in the summary file of repeatMasker is based on headers of the repetitive elements in the fasta file you specify in to -lib argument. So if you want to get the second-table-like, you need to somehow reclassify the repeat library to contan repBase-like classification of TEs. The explanation of lib argument from the manual:

The recommended format for IDs in a custom library is:

>repeatname#class/subclass or simply


In this format, the data will be processed (overlapping repeats are merged etc), alternative output (.ace or .gff) can be created and an overview .tbl file will be created. Classes that will be displayed in the .tbl file are 'SINE', 'LINE', 'LTR', 'DNA', 'Satellite', anything with 'RNA' in it, 'Simple_repeat', and 'Other' or 'Unknown' (the latter defaults when class is missing). Subclasses are plentiful. They are not all tabulated in the .tbl file or necessarily spelled identically as in the repeat files, so check the RepeatMasker.embl file for names that can be parsed into the .tbl file.

  • $\begingroup$ Dear, those numbers in the annotation tables not accurate, it's totally different. i produced these tables to show an example of what I'm looking for, my repeat roughly have all type of repeats in my library file . and all the headers are suits repeatmasker analysis, ready for annotation but when u use the -lib flag the tool assume the analysis is homo and the .tbl is limited, i would like to run the annotation and obtain the second table $\endgroup$
    – BioInfo
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ I never used repeatmodeler $\endgroup$
    – BioInfo
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ The approach you have mentioned is beneficial if you want to combine the new de-nove library obtained with those already discovered and deposited earlier in repbase, thank you. But my question here to get more annotation details in.tbl file $\endgroup$
    – BioInfo
    Feb 19, 2020 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ I get it now, you asked about the labels, not about the numbers. I added info about how RM annotates them $\endgroup$ Feb 26, 2020 at 16:57
  • $\begingroup$ Dear thank you for the update, but I have edited all my headers earlier corresponding to the order of repeatmasker library documents, but the table still assume to be homo and limited $\endgroup$
    – BioInfo
    Feb 27, 2020 at 10:16

RepeatMasker comes with a buildSummary.pl script.

You can input the .out file from your RepeatMasker run and there is a flag to enter your species


buildSummary.pl -species Vertebrates rmrun.out > mysummary.tbl

In the mysummary.tbl, the summary will not assume your run to be Homo (default).


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