The first step of any molecular phylogenetic analysis is the selection of the species and sequences to be included, the taxon sampling. Already here different pitfalls exist. Sequences can contain errors, annotations in databases can be inaccurate and even the taxonomic classification of a species can be wrong. Usually, these artefacts become evident only after calculation of the phylogenetic tree. Following, the taxon sampling has to be corrected iteratively. This can become tedious and time consuming, as in most cases the taxon sampling is de-coupled from the further steps of the phylogenetic analysis. Here, we present the ITS2 Workbench (http://its2.bioapps.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de/), which eliminates this problem by a tight integration of taxon sampling, secondary structure prediction, multiple alignment and phylogenetic tree calculation. The ITS2 Workbench has access to more than 280,000 ITS2 sequences and their structures provided by the ITS2 database enabling sequence-structure based alignment and tree reconstruction. This allows the interactive improvement of the taxon sampling throughout the whole phylogenetic tree reconstruction process. Thus, the ITS2 Workbench enables a fast, interactive and iterative taxon sampling leading to more accurate ITS2 based phylogenies.
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