Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Bioinformatics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Software

iPhy: an integrated phylogenetic workbench for supermatrix analyses

Martin O Jones*, Georgios D Koutsovoulos and Mark L Blaxter

Author Affiliations

Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Bioinformatics 2011, 12:30  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-12-30

Published: 24 January 2011

Abstract

Background

The increasing availability of molecular sequence data means that the accuracy of future phylogenetic studies is likely to by limited by systematic bias and taxon choice rather than by data. In order to take advantage of increasing datasets, user-friendly tools are required to facilitate phylogenetic analyses and to reduce duplication of dataset assembly efforts. Current phylogenetic pipelines are dependency-heavy and have significant technical barriers to use.

Results

Here we present iPhy, a web application that lets non-technical users assemble, share and analyse DNA sequence datasets for multigene phylogenetic investigations. Built on a simple client-server architecture, iPhy eases the collection of gene sets for analysis, facilitates alignment and reliably generates phylogenetic analysis-ready data files. Phylogenetic trees generated in external programs can be imported and stored, and iPhy integrates with iTol to allow trees to be displayed with rich data annotation. The datasets collated in iPhy can be shared through the client interface. We show how systematic biases can be addressed by using explicit criteria when selecting sequences for analysis from a large dataset. A representative instance of iPhy can be accessed at iphy.bio.ed.ac.uk, but the toolkit can also be deployed on a local server for advanced users.

Conclusions

iPhy provides an easy-to-use environment for the assembly, analysis and sharing of large phylogenetic datasets, while encouraging best practices in terms of phylogenetic analysis and taxon selection.