A computer program package called MEGA has been developed for estimating evolutionary distances, reconstructing phylogenetic trees and computing basic statistical quantities from molecular data. It is written in C++ and is intended to be used on IBM and IBM-compatible personal computers. In this program, various methods for estimating evolutionary distances from nucleotide and amino acid sequence data, three different methods of phylogenetic inference (UPGMA, neighbor-joining and maximum parsimony) and two statistical tests of topological differences are included. For the maximum parsimony method, new algorithms of branch-and-bound and heuristic searches are implemented. In addition, MEGA computes statistical quantities such as nucleotide and amino acid frequencies, transition/transversion biases, codon frequencies (codon usage tables), and the number of variable sites in specified segments in nucleotide and amino acid sequences. Advanced on-screen sequence data and phylogenetic-tree editors facilitate publication-quality outputs with a wide range of printers. Integrated and interactive designs, on-line context-sensitive helps, and a text-file editor make MEGA easy to use.
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