DendroBLAST: approximate phylogenetic trees in the absence of multiple sequence alignments.
Kelly S., Maini PK.
The rapidly growing availability of genome information has created considerable demand for both fast and accurate phylogenetic inference algorithms. We present a novel method called DendroBLAST for reconstructing phylogenetic dendrograms/trees from protein sequences using BLAST. This method differs from other methods by incorporating a simple model of sequence evolution to test the effect of introducing sequence changes on the reliability of the bipartitions in the inferred tree. Using realistic simulated sequence data we demonstrate that this method produces phylogenetic trees that are more accurate than other commonly-used distance based methods though not as accurate as maximum likelihood methods from good quality multiple sequence alignments. In addition to tests on simulated data, we use DendroBLAST to generate input trees for a supertree reconstruction of the phylogeny of the Archaea. This independent analysis produces an approximate phylogeny of the Archaea that has both high precision and recall when compared to previously published analysis of the same dataset using conventional methods. Taken together these results demonstrate that approximate phylogenetic trees can be produced in the absence of multiple sequence alignments, and we propose that these trees will provide a platform for improving and informing downstream bioinformatic analysis. A web implementation of the DendroBLAST method is freely available for use at http://www.dendroblast.com/.