I have to split this fasta files into smaller files and write them into individual files my files

>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13860.1_1 [locus_tag=A1S_3471] [protein=hypothetical protein] [protein_id=ABO13860.1] [location=1..957] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13850.1_2 [locus_tag=A1S_3461] [protein=DNA replication protein] [protein_id=ABO13850.1] [location=950..1504] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13851.1_3 [locus_tag=A1S_3462] [protein=hypothetical protein] [protein_id=ABO13851.1] [location=complement(2523..3437)] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13852.1_4 [locus_tag=A1S_3463] [protein=YPPCP.09C-like protein] [protein_id=ABO13852.1] [location=3538..4788] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13853.1_5 [locus_tag=A1S_3464] [protein=Cro-like protein] [protein_id=ABO13853.1] [location=5039..5629] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13854.1_6 [locus_tag=A1S_3465] [protein=hypothetical protein] [protein_id=ABO13854.1] [location=complement(6340..6906)] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13855.1_7 [locus_tag=A1S_3466] [protein=Resolvase] [protein_id=ABO13855.1] [location=complement(7074..7685)] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13856.1_8 [locus_tag=A1S_3467] [protein=hypothetical protein] [protein_id=ABO13856.1] [location=complement(8602..9732)] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13857.1_9 [locus_tag=A1S_3468] [protein=putative lipoprotein] [protein_id=ABO13857.1] [location=complement(10072..10374)] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13858.1_10 [locus_tag=A1S_3469] [protein=Diaminopimelate decarboxylase] [protein_id=ABO13858.1] [location=complement(10367..10723)] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000522.1_prot_ABO13859.1_11 [locus_tag=A1S_3470] [protein=regulatory protein LysR] [protein_id=ABO13859.1] [location=complement(12076..12444)] [gbkey=CDS]

The other pattern is

>lcl|CP000523.1_prot_ABO13861.1_1 [locus_tag=A1S_3472] [protein=DNA replication protein] [protein_id=ABO13861.1] [location=1..951] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000523.1_prot_ABO13862.1_2 [locus_tag=A1S_3473] [protein=hypothetical protein] [protein_id=ABO13862.1] [location=3048..4262] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000523.1_prot_ABO13863.1_3 [locus_tag=A1S_3474] [protein=hypothetical protein] [protein_id=ABO13863.1] [location=4357..5133] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000523.1_prot_ABO13864.1_4 [locus_tag=A1S_3475] [protein=hypothetical protein] [protein_id=ABO13864.1] [location=6197..8608] [gbkey=CDS]
>lcl|CP000523.1_prot_ABO13865.1_5 [locus_tag=A1S_3476] [protein=secretory lipase] [protein_id=ABO13865.1] [location=8705..9403] [gbkey=CDS]

So now my idea is how do i parse and write them into individual files such that CP000522 output written to one file and CP000523 written to another file so forth and so on.

So far what i understand is i have to match the pattern after >lcl so there are other patterns like "LN997847" in the file

Not sure how to proceed tried it in R but failed

it can be done with awk and sed which i tried but i can;t define something that parse all header like takes into account CP as well as LN .

Any suggestion or help would be highly appreciated . here is my file

  • $\begingroup$ This is very easy with a bit of scripting one script will do it all. We do have R experts here (best solution)....Otherwise I'll post the code. How do you want each file named (important no matter which approach you take)? $\endgroup$
    – M__
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


Here's a simple awk approach:

awk '{if(/^>/){split($1,a,"[|.]")}print >> a[2]".fa"}' Protein_FASTA.txt 

Or, more concisely, just:

awk '/^>/{split($1,a,"[|.]")}{print >> a[2]".fa"}' Protein_FASTA.txt 

When run on the file linked to in your question, that results in the following files:

$ ls
AP014650.fa  CP003848.fa  CP007713.fa  CP012005.fa  CP015122.fa  CP017645.fa  CP018422.fa  CP020594.fa  CP023021.fa  CP024577.fa  CP026712.fa  CP027245.fa  CP030108.fa
CP000522.fa  CP003850.fa  CP007714.fa  CP012007.fa  CP015365.fa  CP017647.fa  CP018678.fa  CP020596.fa  CP023023.fa  CP024578.fa  CP026748.fa  CP027529.fa  CP030109.fa
CP000523.fa  CP003887.fa  CP008707.fa  CP012008.fa  CP015366.fa  CP017649.fa  CP018679.fa  CP021322.fa  CP023024.fa  CP025267.fa  CP026749.fa  CP027531.fa  CU459137.fa
CP000864.fa  CP003888.fa  CP008708.fa  CP012953.fa  CP015484.fa  CP017651.fa  CP019218.fa  CP021327.fa  CP023025.fa  CP026126.fa  CP027121.fa  CP027532.fa  CU459138.fa
CP000865.fa  CP003907.fa  CP008709.fa  CP012954.fa  CP015485.fa  CP017653.fa  CP020573.fa  CP021348.fa  CP023027.fa  CP026127.fa  CP027122.fa  CP027608.fa  CU459139.fa
CP001183.fa  CP003908.fa  CP008850.fa  CP012955.fa  CP015486.fa  CP017655.fa  CP020575.fa  CP021783.fa  CP023028.fa  CP026128.fa  CP027124.fa  CP027609.fa  CU459140.fa
CP001922.fa  CP003968.fa  CP008851.fa  CP012956.fa  CP016296.fa  CP017657.fa  CP020576.fa  CP021784.fa  CP023030.fa  CP026129.fa  CP027179.fa  CP027610.fa  JN377410.fa
CP001923.fa  CP004359.fa  CP010398.fa  CP013925.fa  CP016297.fa  CP018144.fa  CP020577.fa  CP021785.fa  CP023032.fa  CP026339.fa  CP027180.fa  CP029570.fa  LN865144.fa
CP001938.fa  CP006769.fa  CP010399.fa  CP014216.fa  CP016299.fa  CP018255.fa  CP020580.fa  CP021786.fa  CP023033.fa  CP026340.fa  CP027181.fa  CP029571.fa  LN997847.fa
CP002523.fa  CP007578.fa  CP010400.fa  CP014217.fa  CP016301.fa  CP018257.fa  CP020585.fa  CP021787.fa  CP023035.fa  CP026705.fa  CP027182.fa  CP029572.fa  LT594096.fa
CP002524.fa  CP007579.fa  CP010780.fa  CP014292.fa  CP016302.fa  CP018333.fa  CP020589.fa  CP022284.fa  CP024125.fa  CP026706.fa  CP027243.fa  CP029573.fa  Protein_FASTA.txt
CP003501.fa  CP007580.fa  CP010782.fa  CP014293.fa  CP017643.fa  CP018334.fa  CP020593.fa  CP022285.fa  CP024419.fa  CP026708.fa  CP027244.fa  CP030107.fa


  • if(/^>/){split($1,a,"[|.]") : if this line starts with a >, split the first field on any occurrence of either | or . and save the results in the array a. Since your header lines all start with >lcl|, then the string you are looking for and a ., this means that the second value in the a array will be your target string.
  • print >> a[2]".fa" : print (append, >>) the current line to a file called "whatever the name of this sequence is" (a[2]) and .fa. This is run for every line in your input file. Note that if you run the same command again, you will need to first delete the files created the first time. If you don't, because I am using the >>, you will just append to the existing files.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Personally, I would have used a "_" along with "." and "|", but who am I. The small advantage of a script is that if its rerun it will clobber the old run output, without fear of appending. $\endgroup$
    – M__
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 16:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelG. you can do it easily enough in perl, it's just slightly more cumbersome since you need to explicitly open and close each file: perl -ne 'if(/>.+?\|(.*?)\./){$name=$1; }open(my $fh, ">>","$name.fa"); print $fh "$_"; close($fh)' Protein_FASTA.txt. I didn't include the _ because the OP seemed to want the text before the version (the .N) to be the file name. I'd have used the _ myself too. $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 16:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ wow so many solutions...let me run this.. $\endgroup$
    – kcm
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 16:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You're welcome :). @MichaelG. note that I had a mistake in the first version of that perl one-liner. You need >>, not > (I've edited the comment) and it still has the same issue with existing files. The only way around that is to store everything in memory and only write at the end: perl -ne 'if(/>.+?\|(.*?)\./){$name=$1;}push @{$k{$name}},$_; END{for $name (keys(%k)){open(my $fh, ">","$name.fa"); print $fh @{$k{$name}}; close($fh)}}' Protein_FASTA.txt $\endgroup$
    – terdon
    Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 16:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I suggest replacing the if (…){…} block with the more awk-ish /^>/ {split($1, a, "[|.]")}, which simplified the actual print look to just {print >> a[2] ".fa"}. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 18, 2019 at 16:43

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