Phylo.io: Interactive Viewing and Comparison of Large Phylogenetic Trees on the Web

Mol Biol Evol. 2016 Aug;33(8):2163-6. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msw080. Epub 2016 Apr 19.

Abstract

Phylogenetic trees are pervasively used to depict evolutionary relationships. Increasingly, researchers need to visualize large trees and compare multiple large trees inferred for the same set of taxa (reflecting uncertainty in the tree inference or genuine discordance among the loci analyzed). Existing tree visualization tools are however not well suited to these tasks. In particular, side-by-side comparison of trees can prove challenging beyond a few dozen taxa. Here, we introduce Phylo.io, a web application to visualize and compare phylogenetic trees side-by-side. Its distinctive features are: highlighting of similarities and differences between two trees, automatic identification of the best matching rooting and leaf order, scalability to large trees, high usability, multiplatform support via standard HTML5 implementation, and possibility to store and share visualizations. The tool can be freely accessed at http://phylo.io and can easily be embedded in other web servers. The code for the associated JavaScript library is available at https://github.com/DessimozLab/phylo-io under an MIT open source license.

Keywords: Phylogenetics; molecular evolution.; visualization; web services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Computer Graphics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Internet*
  • Phylogeny
  • Software