De Bruijn Graph Python

Python Programming

I’ve always been fascinated by the world of graphs and how they can be used to represent complex relationships and structures. One specific type of graph that has caught my attention is the De Bruijn graph in Python. In this article, I’ll dive deep into the concept of De Bruijn graphs and explore how they can be implemented using Python.

What is a De Bruijn Graph?

A De Bruijn graph is a directed graph that represents the overlaps between sequences of symbols, such as characters or DNA bases. It was named after the Dutch mathematician Nicolaas Govert de Bruijn, who introduced the concept of a De Bruijn sequence.

The De Bruijn graph is constructed by creating nodes that represent all possible k-length sequences of symbols, and connecting these nodes based on their overlapping sequences. For example, if we have the sequences “ABCD” and “BCDE”, the De Bruijn graph would have nodes for “ABC”, “BCD”, and “CDE”, with edges connecting them based on the overlapping “BC” sequence.

Implementing a De Bruijn Graph in Python

Now that we have a basic understanding of what a De Bruijn graph is, let’s see how we can implement it using Python. We’ll start by defining a function that takes in a list of sequences and the length of the overlapping subsequences, and returns the corresponding De Bruijn graph.

def construct_de_bruijn_graph(sequences, k):
graph = {}

for seq in sequences:
for i in range(len(seq) - k + 1):
kmer = seq[i:i+k]

if kmer not in graph:
graph[kmer] = []

if i < len(seq) - k: next_kmer = seq[i+1:i+k+1] graph[kmer].append(next_kmer) return graph

In this code, we iterate through each sequence and extract all k-length subsequences. We then add these subsequences as nodes to the De Bruijn graph and connect them to the next k-length subsequence. The resulting graph is represented as a dictionary, where the keys are the nodes and the values are the connecting nodes.

Visualizing the De Bruijn Graph

Once we have constructed the De Bruijn graph, we can visualize it to gain a better understanding of the relationships between the sequences. There are many libraries available in Python for graph visualization, such as NetworkX or Graphviz, which can help us in this task.

For example, using the NetworkX library, we can plot the De Bruijn graph as follows:

import networkx as nx
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

def visualize_de_bruijn_graph(graph):
G = nx.DiGraph()

for node, neighbors in graph.items():

for neighbor in neighbors:
G.add_edge(node, neighbor)

nx.draw(G, with_labels=True)

This code converts the dictionary representation of the De Bruijn graph into a NetworkX graph object, and then uses the matplotlib library to visualize it as a directed graph.


Exploring the world of De Bruijn graphs in Python has been quite an interesting journey. We've learned what De Bruijn graphs are and how they can be implemented using Python. By visualizing these graphs, we can gain valuable insights into complex sequences and their overlapping relationships.

Whether you're working in bioinformatics, text processing, or any other field that deals with sequences, understanding De Bruijn graphs can be a powerful tool in your toolkit. I hope this article has provided you with a solid foundation to start exploring the world of De Bruijn graphs in Python.