Biopython 1.59 released

Source distributions and Windows installers for Biopython 1.59 are now available from the downloads page on the Biopython website and from the Python Package Index (PyPI).


We currently support Python 2.5, 2.6 and 2.7 and also test under Jython 2.5 (which does not cover NumPy). Please note that this release will not work on Python 2.4

Most functionality is also working under Python 3.1 and 3.2 (including modules using NumPy), and under PyPy (excluding our NumPy dependencies). We are now encouraging early adopters to help beta testing on these platforms.

The installation now supports ‘install_requires’ when setuptools is installed. This avoids the manual dialog when installing Biopython via easy_install or pip and numpy is not installed. It also allows user libraries that require Biopython to include it in their install_requires and get automatic installation of dependencies.


New module Bio.TogoWS offers a wrapper for the TogoWS REST API, a web service based in Japan offering access to KEGG, DDBJ, PDBj, CBRC plus access to some NCBI and EBI resources including PubMed, GenBank and UniProt. This is much easier to use than the NCBI Entrez API, but should be especially useful for Biopython users based in Asia.

The NCBI Entrez Fetch function Bio.Entrez.efetch has been updated to handle the NCBI’s stricter handling of multiple ID arguments in EFetch 2.0 (released February 2012, see this announcement), however the NCBI have also changed the retmode default argument so you may need to make this explicit. e.g. add retmode="text" to your EFetch calls (see this announcement).

The position objects used in Bio.SeqFeature now act almost like integers, making dealing with fuzzy locations in EMBL/GenBank files much easier. Also the SeqFeature‘s strand and any database reference are now properties of the FeatureLocation object (a more logical placement), with proxy methods for backwards compatibility.

Bio.Graphics.BasicChromosome has been extended to allow simple sub-features to be drawn on chromosome segments, suitable to show the position of genes, SNPs or other loci.

Bio.Graphics.GenomeDiagram has been extended to allow cross-links between tracks, and track specific start/end positions for showing regions. This can be used to imitate the output from the Artemis Comparison Tool (ACT). Also, a new attribute circle_core makes it easier to have an empty space in the middle of a circular diagram (see tutorial).

Note Bio.Graphics requires the ReportLab library.

Bio.Align.Applications now includes a wrapper for command line tool Clustal Omega for protein multiple sequence alignment.

Bio.AlignIO now supports sequential PHYLIP files (as well as interlaced PHYLIP files) as a separate format variant.

Additionally there have been other minor bug fixes and more unit tests, and updates to the documentation including the Biopython Tutorial (PDF).


Many thanks to the Biopython developers and community for making this release possible, especially the following contributors:

  • Andreas Wilm (first contribution)
  • Alessio Papini (first contribution)
  • Brad Chapman
  • Brandon Invergo
  • Connor McCoy
  • Eric Talevich
  • João Rodrigues
  • Konrad Förstner (first contribution)
  • Michiel de Hoon
  • Matej Repič (first contribution)
  • Leighton Pritchard
  • Peter Cock
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