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A perl package and an alignment tool for phylogenetic networks

Gabriel Cardona1*, Francesc Rosselló1 and Gabriel Valiente2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of the Balearic Islands, E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain

2 Algorithms, Bioinformatics, Complexity and Formal Methods Research Group, Technical University of Catalonia, E-08034 Barcelona, Spain

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BMC Bioinformatics 2008, 9:175  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-9-175

Published: 27 March 2008

Abstract

Background

Phylogenetic networks are a generalization of phylogenetic trees that allow for the representation of evolutionary events acting at the population level, like recombination between genes, hybridization between lineages, and lateral gene transfer. While most phylogenetics tools implement a wide range of algorithms on phylogenetic trees, there exist only a few applications to work with phylogenetic networks, none of which are open-source libraries, and they do not allow for the comparative analysis of phylogenetic networks by computing distances between them or aligning them.

Results

In order to improve this situation, we have developed a Perl package that relies on the BioPerl bundle and implements many algorithms on phylogenetic networks. We have also developed a Java applet that makes use of the aforementioned Perl package and allows the user to make simple experiments with phylogenetic networks without having to develop a program or Perl script by him or herself.

Conclusion

The Perl package is available as part of the BioPerl bundle, and can also be downloaded. A web-based application is also available (see availability and requirements). The Perl package includes full documentation of all its features.