AQUAPONY: visualization and interpretation of phylogeographic information on phylogenetic trees

Abstract

Motivation The visualization and interpretation of evolutionary spatiotemporal scenarios is broadly and increasingly used in infectious disease research, ecology or agronomy. Using probabilistic frameworks, well-known tools can infer from molecular data ancestral traits for internal nodes in a phylogeny, and numerous phylogenetic rendering tools can display such evolutionary trees. However, visualizing such ancestral information and its uncertainty on the tree remains tedious. For instance, ancestral nodes can be associated to several geographical annotations with close probabilities and thus, several migration or transmission scenarios exist. Results We expose a web-based tool, named AQUAPONY, that facilitates such operations. Given an evolutionary tree with ancestral (e.g. geographical) annotations, the user can easily control the display of ancestral information on the entire tree or a subtree, and can view alternative phylogeographic scenarios along a branch according to a chosen uncertainty threshold. AQUAPONY interactively visualizes the tree and eases the objective interpretation of evolutionary scenarios. AQUAPONY’s implementation makes it highly responsive to user interaction, and instantaneously updates the tree visualizations even for large trees (which can be exported as image files). Availability and implementation AQUAPONY is coded in JavaScript/HTML, available under Cecill license, and can be freely used at http://www.atgc-montpellier.fr/aquapony/.

Publication
Bioinformatics
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Bastien Cazaux
postdoctoral fellow, former PhD and master student

Trained in mathematics and computer science.