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      BEAST: Bayesian evolutionary analysis by sampling trees

      , 1 , 2 , 3

      BMC Evolutionary Biology

      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Background

          The evolutionary analysis of molecular sequence variation is a statistical enterprise. This is reflected in the increased use of probabilistic models for phylogenetic inference, multiple sequence alignment, and molecular population genetics. Here we present BEAST: a fast, flexible software architecture for Bayesian analysis of molecular sequences related by an evolutionary tree. A large number of popular stochastic models of sequence evolution are provided and tree-based models suitable for both within- and between-species sequence data are implemented.

          Results

          BEAST version 1.4.6 consists of 81000 lines of Java source code, 779 classes and 81 packages. It provides models for DNA and protein sequence evolution, highly parametric coalescent analysis, relaxed clock phylogenetics, non-contemporaneous sequence data, statistical alignment and a wide range of options for prior distributions. BEAST source code is object-oriented, modular in design and freely available at http://beast-mcmc.googlecode.com/ under the GNU LGPL license.

          Conclusion

          BEAST is a powerful and flexible evolutionary analysis package for molecular sequence variation. It also provides a resource for the further development of new models and statistical methods of evolutionary analysis.

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          Most cited references 35

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          Dating of the human-ape splitting by a molecular clock of mitochondrial DNA.

          A new statistical method for estimating divergence dates of species from DNA sequence data by a molecular clock approach is developed. This method takes into account effectively the information contained in a set of DNA sequence data. The molecular clock of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was calibrated by setting the date of divergence between primates and ungulates at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (65 million years ago), when the extinction of dinosaurs occurred. A generalized least-squares method was applied in fitting a model to mtDNA sequence data, and the clock gave dates of 92.3 +/- 11.7, 13.3 +/- 1.5, 10.9 +/- 1.2, 3.7 +/- 0.6, and 2.7 +/- 0.6 million years ago (where the second of each pair of numbers is the standard deviation) for the separation of mouse, gibbon, orangutan, gorilla, and chimpanzee, respectively, from the line leading to humans. Although there is some uncertainty in the clock, this dating may pose a problem for the widely believed hypothesis that the pipedal creature Australopithecus afarensis, which lived some 3.7 million years ago at Laetoli in Tanzania and at Hadar in Ethiopia, was ancestral to man and evolved after the human-ape splitting. Another likelier possibility is that mtDNA was transferred through hybridization between a proto-human and a proto-chimpanzee after the former had developed bipedalism.
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            A codon-based model of nucleotide substitution for protein-coding DNA sequences.

              (1994)
            A codon-based model for the evolution of protein-coding DNA sequences is presented for use in phylogenetic estimation. A Markov process is used to describe substitutions between codons. Transition/transversion rate bias and codon usage bias are allowed in the model, and selective restraints at the protein level are accommodated using physicochemical distances between the amino acids coded for by the codons. Analyses of two data sets suggest that the new codon-based model can provide a better fit to data than can nucleotide-based models and can produce more reliable estimates of certain biologically important measures such as the transition/transversion rate ratio and the synonymous/nonsynonymous substitution rate ratio.
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              Estimating the rate of evolution of the rate of molecular evolution.

              A simple model for the evolution of the rate of molecular evolution is presented. With a Bayesian approach, this model can serve as the basis for estimating dates of important evolutionary events even in the absence of the assumption of constant rates among evolutionary lineages. The method can be used in conjunction with any of the widely used models for nucleotide substitution or amino acid replacement. It is illustrated by analyzing a data set of rbcL protein sequences.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Evol Biol
                BMC Evolutionary Biology
                BioMed Central
                1471-2148
                2007
                8 November 2007
                : 7
                : 214
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Bioinformatics Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
                [2 ]Department of Computer Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
                [3 ]Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
                Article
                1471-2148-7-214
                10.1186/1471-2148-7-214
                2247476
                17996036
                Copyright © 2007 Drummond and Rambaut; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Software

                Evolutionary Biology

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