As more population genetics datasets and population-specific references become available, the task of translating (‘lifting’) read alignments from one reference coordinate system to another is becoming more common. Existing tools generally require a chain file, whereas VCF files are the more common way to represent variation. Existing tools also do not make effective use of threads, creating a post-alignment bottleneck.


LevioSAM is a tool for lifting SAM/BAM alignments from one reference to another using a VCF file containing population variants. LevioSAM uses succinct data structures and scales efficiently to many threads. When run downstream of a read aligner, levioSAM is more than 7 times faster than an aligner when both are run with 16 threads.

Availability and implementation

Software Package:, Experiments:

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

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