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Bioinformatics. 2008 Oct 15;24(20):2403-4. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btn457. Epub 2008 Aug 27.

StatAlign: an extendable software package for joint Bayesian estimation of alignments and evolutionary trees.

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Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, 1 South Parks Road, OX1 3TG Oxford, UK.



Bayesian analysis is one of the most popular methods in phylogenetic inference. The most commonly used methods fix a single multiple alignment and consider only substitutions as phylogenetically informative mutations, though alignments and phylogenies should be inferred jointly as insertions and deletions also carry informative signals. Methods addressing these issues have been developed only recently and there has not been so far a user-friendly program with a graphical interface that implements these methods.


We have developed an extendable software package in the Java programming language that samples from the joint posterior distribution of phylogenies, alignments and evolutionary parameters by applying the Markov chain Monte Carlo method. The package also offers tools for efficient on-the-fly summarization of the results. It has a graphical interface to configure, start and supervise the analysis, to track the status of the Markov chain and to save the results. The background model for insertions and deletions can be combined with any substitution model. It is easy to add new substitution models to the software package as plugins. The samples from the Markov chain can be summarized in several ways, and new postprocessing plugins may also be installed.

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