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Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 May 21;47(9):4442-4448. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz246.

AnnoTree: visualization and exploration of a functionally annotated microbial tree of life.

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Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada.
Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.


Bacterial genomics has revolutionized our understanding of the microbial tree of life; however, mapping and visualizing the distribution of functional traits across bacteria remains a challenge. Here, we introduce AnnoTree-an interactive, functionally annotated bacterial tree of life that integrates taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional annotation data from over 27 000 bacterial and 1500 archaeal genomes. AnnoTree enables visualization of millions of precomputed genome annotations across the bacterial and archaeal phylogenies, thereby allowing users to explore gene distributions as well as patterns of gene gain and loss in prokaryotes. Using AnnoTree, we examined the phylogenomic distributions of 28 311 gene/protein families, and measured their phylogenetic conservation, patchiness, and lineage-specificity within bacteria. Our analyses revealed widespread phylogenetic patchiness among bacterial gene families, reflecting the dynamic evolution of prokaryotic genomes. Genes involved in phage infection/defense, mobile elements, and antibiotic resistance dominated the list of most patchy traits, as well as numerous intriguing metabolic enzymes that appear to have undergone frequent horizontal transfer. We anticipate that AnnoTree will be a valuable resource for exploring prokaryotic gene histories, and will act as a catalyst for biological and evolutionary hypothesis generation. AnnoTree is freely available at

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