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In order to use the Singularity driven version of Nanopype a working python3 with Snakemake and the pipeline repository itself are sufficient. At least python version 3.6 is required and we recommend to use a virtual environment. Additionally Singularity needs to be installed system wide. On Ubuntu the package is called singularity-container. The full installation requires root privileges and might require help of your IT department. Under Local Singularity we describe a workaround for a limited functionality local Singularity installation. We currently test workflows with Singularity version 3.3.0.

Start with creating a virtual environment:

python3 -m venv /path/to/your/environment
cd /path/to/your/environment
source bin/activate

Or using conda:

conda create -n nanopype python=3.6 anaconda
source activate nanopype


Finally install Nanopype from If you use conda you find pip in the bin/ folder of the conda installation. If you use a conda virtual environment use the pip from the envs/nanopype/bin.

git clone
cd nanopype
python3 -m pip install --upgrade pip
python3 -m pip install -r requirements.txt
cd ..

It is recommended to install a tagged version of Nanopype. Using the 'latest' from master will always pull the most recent Singularity images. If the remaining pipeline is then not regularly updated via git pull, pipeline code and container code can diverge. To install a specific version modify the above commands to:

git clone
cd nanopype
git fetch --tags && git checkout v1.0.0
python3 -m pip install --upgrade pip
python3 -m pip install -r requirements.txt
cd ..

To deactivate a virtual python environment after installation or usage of the pipeline just type:


for plain and

source deactivate

for conda virtual environments.

Local Singularity

If a system wide singularity installation is not available and can not be set up, you can try to install singularity as a user. The following steps clone the repository and build singularity without the setuid functionality, relying on kernel namespaces at runtime. The --prefix is the installation prefix and must be a writeable path. The localstatedir will be created by the make script on the current server. In a cluster environment localstatedir needs to be available on a local hard drive on each node!

Singularity requires mksquasfs and unsquashfs from squashfs-tools. Currently these are only found when installed in system paths i.e. /bin, /usr/bin, /sbin, /usr/sbin, /usr/local/bin, /usr/local/sbin. Please contact your IT to install the squashfs-tools package.

git clone
cd singularity && git checkout v3.3.0
./mconfig --without-suid --prefix=/path/to/prefix --localstatedir="/scratch/nanopype_singularity"
make -C ./builddir
make -C ./builddir install

Note: Singularity and mksquasfs/unsquashfs must be visible to Snakemake e.g. through the users PATH variable. In a cluster setup this must hold true on every compute node. If your .bashrc becomes sourced on the compute nodes you can simply:

echo 'export PATH=/path/to/prefix/bin:${PATH}' >> ~/.bashrc

Alternatively if you installed Nanopype and Snakemake to a virtual python environment any executable in the environments bin folder will work. You could therefore create softlinks to the actual installation e.g.:

ln -s /path/to/prefix/bin/singularity /path/to/your/environment/bin/singularity

The exact approach depends on the local setup and might differ in details.

Finally you need to configure Singularity to only use namespaces when executing the container. Snakemake has a command line argument --singularity-args to pass parameters to Singularity. When executing Snakemake with Nanopype use:

snakemake --snakefile ~/nanopype/Snakefile --use-singularity --singularity-args=" -u" /some/output_file

The leading whitespace is important. Alternatively specify the flag in a user profile.


Mission accomplished! Everything else is solved at run time by Snakemake and Nanopype.


Do not forget to follow the global configuration once and for each sample the local one.

When using the pipeline you'll have to add the --use-singularity flag to every Snakemake command. This will pull only the required images in the background. Please also consider setting the --singularity-prefix to a common path, otherwise the images will be downloaded for every sample into ./.snakemake/singularity. If you want to see all available Nanopype Singularity images or check their download sizes visit our DockerHub.