MEGA3: Integrated software for Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis and sequence alignment.
With its theoretical basis firmly established in molecular evolutionary and population genetics, the comparative DNA and protein sequence analysis plays a central role in reconstructing the evolutionary histories of species and multigene families, estimating rates of molecular evolution, and inferring the nature and extent of selective forces shaping the evolution of genes and genomes. The scope of these investigations has now expanded greatly owing to the development of high-throughput sequencing techniques and novel statistical and computational methods. These methods require easy-to-use computer programs. One such effort has been to produce Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software, with its focus on facilitating the exploration and analysis of the DNA and protein sequence variation from an evolutionary perspective. Currently in its third major release, MEGA3 contains facilities for automatic and manual sequence alignment, web-based mining of databases, inference of the phylogenetic trees, estimation of evolutionary distances and testing evolutionary hypotheses. This paper provides an overview of the statistical methods, computational tools, and visual exploration modules for data input and the results obtainable in MEGA.
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