An ALignment Editor based on GNU Emacs.

Last updated: 2 Jan 2013

Ale is an alignment editor for genetic sequences. It

Ale is built on top of GNU Emacs, and requires Emacs 24 or higher to run.


sliding a selection See our screenshots page for more.


In Memoriam Carl Woese

Ale was originally written in 1994-1995, as a project of the laboratory of Prof. Carl Woese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the laboratory of Prof. Norman Pace at the University of Indiana, Bloomington. It then lay dormant for about seven years, then perked up for a while, then went dormant again, then perked up a little bit, and now might or might not be dormant. You can download Ale here and try it out; if you run into any problems, or are interested in continuing Ale development, please contact Jim Blandy or Karl Fogel.

Getting Ale

Download Ale 0.2.69 (prepackaged source code)

Ale is kept under version control using Subversion. You can browse the Ale repository, and if you have the "svn" client installed, you can check out a working copy of Ale like this:

   svn co ale


Quick Start

If you've just downloaded, built, and installed Ale, and now you're wondering how to try it, run this from the top of the Ale source tree:

   ale demo-data/

Other Similar Software

Ale isn't the only genetic sequence written in Emacs and released as free software, believe it or not. There's also RALEE (RNA ALignment Editor in Emacs), by Sam Griffiths-Jones, which was written up in Oxford University's journal Bioinformatics, vol. 21, issue 2.

Also, the Debian GNU/Linux distribution lists a sequence editor called biomode, which mentions Emacs as a dependency.

Possibly search://emacs genetic sequence alignment/ would turn up more such packages. Please let us know if you see anything out there.