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1.  Biased Gene Conversion and GC-Content Evolution in the Coding Sequences of Reptiles and Vertebrates 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2014;7(1):240-250.
Mammalian and avian genomes are characterized by a substantial spatial heterogeneity of GC-content, which is often interpreted as reflecting the effect of local GC-biased gene conversion (gBGC), a meiotic repair bias that favors G and C over A and T alleles in high-recombining genomic regions. Surprisingly, the first fully sequenced nonavian sauropsid (i.e., reptile), the green anole Anolis carolinensis, revealed a highly homogeneous genomic GC-content landscape, suggesting the possibility that gBGC might not be at work in this lineage. Here, we analyze GC-content evolution at third-codon positions (GC3) in 44 vertebrates species, including eight newly sequenced transcriptomes, with a specific focus on nonavian sauropsids. We report that reptiles, including the green anole, have a genome-wide distribution of GC3 similar to that of mammals and birds, and we infer a strong GC3-heterogeneity to be already present in the tetrapod ancestor. We further show that the dynamic of coding sequence GC-content is largely governed by karyotypic features in vertebrates, notably in the green anole, in agreement with the gBGC hypothesis. The discrepancy between third-codon positions and noncoding DNA regarding GC-content dynamics in the green anole could not be explained by the activity of transposable elements or selection on codon usage. This analysis highlights the unique value of third-codon positions as an insertion/deletion-free marker of nucleotide substitution biases that ultimately affect the evolution of proteins.
PMCID: PMC4316630  PMID: 25527834
third-codon positions; phylogeny; karyotype
2.  Population genomics of the endangered giant Galápagos tortoise 
Genome Biology  2013;14(12):R136.
The giant Galápagos tortoise, Chelonoidis nigra, is a large-sized terrestrial chelonian of high patrimonial interest. The species recently colonized a small continental archipelago, the Galápagos Islands, where it has been facing novel environmental conditions and limited resource availability. To explore the genomic consequences of this ecological shift, we analyze the transcriptomic variability of five individuals of C. nigra, and compare it to similar data obtained from several continental species of turtles.
Having clarified the timing of divergence in the Chelonoidis genus, we report in C. nigra a very low level of genetic polymorphism, signatures of a weakened efficacy of purifying selection, and an elevated mutation load in coding and regulatory sequences. These results are consistent with the hypothesis of an extremely low long-term effective population size in this insular species. Functional evolutionary analyses reveal a reduced diversity of immunity genes in C. nigra, in line with the hypothesis of attenuated pathogen diversity in islands, and an increased selective pressure on genes involved in response to stress, potentially related to the climatic instability of its environment and its elongated lifespan. Finally, we detect no population structure or homozygosity excess in our five-individual sample.
These results enlighten the molecular evolution of an endangered taxon in a stressful environment and point to island endemic species as a promising model for the study of the deleterious effects on genome evolution of a reduced long-term population size.
PMCID: PMC4053747  PMID: 24342523
3.  Evidence for Widespread Positive and Purifying Selection Across the European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Genome 
Molecular Biology and Evolution  2012;29(7):1837-1849.
The nearly neutral theory of molecular evolution predicts that the efficacy of both positive and purifying selection is a function of the long-term effective population size (Ne) of a species. Under this theory, the efficacy of natural selection should increase with Ne. Here, we tested this simple prediction by surveying ∼1.5 to 1.8 Mb of protein coding sequence in the two subspecies of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus algirus and O. c. cuniculus), a mammal species characterized by high levels of nucleotide diversity and Ne estimates for each subspecies on the order of 1 × 106. When the segregation of slightly deleterious mutations and demographic effects were taken into account, we inferred that >60% of amino acid substitutions on the autosomes were driven to fixation by positive selection. Moreover, we inferred that a small fraction of new amino acid mutations (<4%) are effectively neutral (defined as 0 < Nes < 1) and that this fraction was negatively correlated with a gene’s expression level. Consistent with models of recurrent adaptive evolution, we detected a negative correlation between levels of synonymous site polymorphism and the rate of protein evolution, although the correlation was weak and nonsignificant. No systematic X chromosome–autosome difference was found in the efficacy of selection. For example, the proportion of adaptive substitutions was significantly higher on the X chromosome compared with the autosomes in O. c. algirus but not in O. c. cuniculus. Our findings support widespread positive and purifying selection in rabbits and add to a growing list of examples suggesting that differences in Ne among taxa play a substantial role in determining rates and patterns of protein evolution.
PMCID: PMC3375474  PMID: 22319161
proportion of adaptive substitutions; distribution of fitness effects; effective population size; McDonald–Kreitman test; nearly neutral theory; transcriptome
4.  Reference-Free Population Genomics from Next-Generation Transcriptome Data and the Vertebrate–Invertebrate Gap 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(4):e1003457.
In animals, the population genomic literature is dominated by two taxa, namely mammals and drosophilids, in which fully sequenced, well-annotated genomes have been available for years. Data from other metazoan phyla are scarce, probably because the vast majority of living species still lack a closely related reference genome. Here we achieve de novo, reference-free population genomic analysis from wild samples in five non-model animal species, based on next-generation sequencing transcriptome data. We introduce a pipe-line for cDNA assembly, read mapping, SNP/genotype calling, and data cleaning, with specific focus on the issue of hidden paralogy detection. In two species for which a reference genome is available, similar results were obtained whether the reference was used or not, demonstrating the robustness of our de novo inferences. The population genomic profile of a hare, a turtle, an oyster, a tunicate, and a termite were found to be intermediate between those of human and Drosophila, indicating that the discordant genomic diversity patterns that have been reported between these two species do not reflect a generalized vertebrate versus invertebrate gap. The genomic average diversity was generally higher in invertebrates than in vertebrates (with the notable exception of termite), in agreement with the notion that population size tends to be larger in the former than in the latter. The non-synonymous to synonymous ratio, however, did not differ significantly between vertebrates and invertebrates, even though it was negatively correlated with genetic diversity within each of the two groups. This study opens promising perspective regarding genome-wide population analyses of non-model organisms and the influence of population size on non-synonymous versus synonymous diversity.
Author Summary
The analysis of genomic variation between individuals of a given species has so far been restricted to a small number of model organisms, such as human and fruitfly, for which a fully sequenced, well-annotated reference genome was available. Here we show that, thanks to next-generation high-throughput sequencing technologies and appropriate genotype-calling methods, de novo population genomic analysis is possible in absence of a reference genome. We characterize the genomic level of neutral and selected polymorphism in five non-model animal species, two vertebrates and three invertebrates, paying particular attention to the treatment of multi-copy genes. The analyses demonstrate the influence of population size on genetic diversity in animals, the two vertebrates (hare, turtle) and the social insect (termite) being less polymorphic than the two marine invertebrates (oyster, tunicate) in our sample. Interestingly, genomic indicators of the efficiency of natural selection, both purifying and adaptive, did not vary in a simple, predictable way across organisms. These results prove the value of a diversified sampling of species when it comes to understand the determinants of genome evolutionary dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3623758  PMID: 23593039
5.  Phylogenomic analyses support the position of turtles as the sister group of birds and crocodiles (Archosauria) 
BMC Biology  2012;10:65.
The morphological peculiarities of turtles have, for a long time, impeded their accurate placement in the phylogeny of amniotes. Molecular data used to address this major evolutionary question have so far been limited to a handful of markers and/or taxa. These studies have supported conflicting topologies, positioning turtles as either the sister group to all other reptiles, to lepidosaurs (tuatara, lizards and snakes), to archosaurs (birds and crocodiles), or to crocodilians. Genome-scale data have been shown to be useful in resolving other debated phylogenies, but no such adequate dataset is yet available for amniotes.
In this study, we used next-generation sequencing to obtain seven new transcriptomes from the blood, liver, or jaws of four turtles, a caiman, a lizard, and a lungfish. We used a phylogenomic dataset based on 248 nuclear genes (187,026 nucleotide sites) for 16 vertebrate taxa to resolve the origins of turtles. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian concatenation analyses and species tree approaches performed under the most realistic models of the nucleotide and amino acid substitution processes unambiguously support turtles as a sister group to birds and crocodiles. The use of more simplistic models of nucleotide substitution for both concatenation and species tree reconstruction methods leads to the artefactual grouping of turtles and crocodiles, most likely because of substitution saturation at third codon positions. Relaxed molecular clock methods estimate the divergence between turtles and archosaurs around 255 million years ago. The most recent common ancestor of living turtles, corresponding to the split between Pleurodira and Cryptodira, is estimated to have occurred around 157 million years ago, in the Upper Jurassic period. This is a more recent estimate than previously reported, and questions the interpretation of controversial Lower Jurassic fossils as being part of the extant turtles radiation.
These results provide a phylogenetic framework and timescale with which to interpret the evolution of the peculiar morphological, developmental, and molecular features of turtles within the amniotes.
PMCID: PMC3473239  PMID: 22839781
6.  The Population Genomics of a Fast Evolver: High Levels of Diversity, Functional Constraint, and Molecular Adaptation in the Tunicate Ciona intestinalis 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2012;4(8):852-861.
Phylogenomics has revealed the existence of fast-evolving animal phyla in which the amino acid substitution rate, averaged across many proteins, is consistently higher than in other lineages. The reasons for such differences in proteome-wide evolutionary rates are still unknown, largely because only a handful of species offer within-species genomic data from which molecular evolutionary processes can be deduced. In this study, we use next-generation sequencing technologies and individual whole-transcriptome sequencing to gather extensive polymorphism sequence data sets from Ciona intestinalis. Ciona is probably the best-characterized member of the fast-evolving Urochordata group (tunicates), which was recently identified as the sister group of the slow-evolving vertebrates. We introduce and validate a maximum-likelihood framework for single-nucleotide polymorphism and genotype calling, based on high-throughput short-read typing. We report that the C. intestinalis proteome is characterized by a high level of within-species diversity, efficient purifying selection, and a substantial percentage of adaptive amino acid substitutions. We conclude that the increased rate of amino acid sequence evolution in tunicates, when compared with vertebrates, is the consequence of both a 2–6 times higher per-year mutation rate and prevalent adaptive evolution.
PMCID: PMC3509891  PMID: 22745226
substitution rate; population size; mutation rate; next-generation sequencing; transcriptome
7.  Fast and Robust Characterization of Time-Heterogeneous Sequence Evolutionary Processes Using Substitution Mapping 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33852.
Genes and genomes do not evolve similarly in all branches of the tree of life. Detecting and characterizing the heterogeneity in time, and between lineages, of the nucleotide (or amino acid) substitution process is an important goal of current molecular evolutionary research. This task is typically achieved through the use of non-homogeneous models of sequence evolution, which being highly parametrized and computationally-demanding are not appropriate for large-scale analyses. Here we investigate an alternative methodological option based on probabilistic substitution mapping. The idea is to first reconstruct the substitutional history of each site of an alignment under a homogeneous model of sequence evolution, then to characterize variations in the substitution process across lineages based on substitution counts. Using simulated and published datasets, we demonstrate that probabilistic substitution mapping is robust in that it typically provides accurate reconstruction of sequence ancestry even when the true process is heterogeneous, but a homogeneous model is adopted. Consequently, we show that the new approach is essentially as efficient as and extremely faster than (up to 25 000 times) existing methods, thus paving the way for a systematic survey of substitution process heterogeneity across genes and lineages.
PMCID: PMC3313935  PMID: 22479459
8.  The intriguing evolutionary dynamics of plant mitochondrial DNA 
BMC Biology  2011;9:61.
The mitochondrial genome of plants is-in every respect and for yet unclear reasons-very different from the well-studied one of animals. Thanks to next-generation sequencing technologies, Davila et al. precisely characterized the role played by recombination and DNA repair in controlling mitochondrial variations in Arabidopsis thaliana, thus opening new perspectives on the long-term evolution of this intriguing genome.
See research article:
The mitochondrial genome of plants is a challenge to molecular evolutionary biologists. Its content is highly dynamic: plant mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is large and variable in size (200 to 2,500 kb), contains many introns and repeated elements (typically 90% of the total sequence), and experiences frequent gene gain/loss/transfer/duplication, and genome rearrangements [1]. Its nucleotide substitution rate, paradoxically, is remarkably low-even lower than for nuclear DNA. These features are in sharp contrast with the highly studied mtDNA of animals, which is small-sized, structurally conserved, devoid of selfish elements, and has a very fast nucleotide substitution rate [2]. Why these two genomes behave so differently is one of the most head-scratching questions of current comparative genomics. The study by Davila et al. [3] contributes a potentially decisive argument by connecting the plant mtDNA mutation rate to yet another intriguing feature of this organellar genome-recombination.
PMCID: PMC3181201  PMID: 21951676
9.  Detecting positive selection within genomes: the problem of biased gene conversion 
The identification of loci influenced by positive selection is a major goal of evolutionary genetics. A popular approach is to perform scans of alignments on a genome-wide scale in order to find regions evolving at accelerated rates on a particular branch of a phylogenetic tree. However, positive selection is not the only process that can lead to accelerated evolution. Notably, GC-biased gene conversion (gBGC) is a recombination-associated process that results in the biased fixation of G and C nucleotides. This process can potentially generate bursts of nucleotide substitutions within hotspots of meiotic recombination. Here, we analyse the results of a scan for positive selection on genes on branches across the primate phylogeny. We show that genes identified as targets of positive selection have a significant tendency to exhibit the genomic signature of gBGC. Using a maximum-likelihood framework, we estimate that more than 20 per cent of cases of significantly elevated non-synonymous to synonymous substitution rates ratio (dN/dS), particularly in shorter branches, could be due to gBGC. We demonstrate that in some cases, gBGC can lead to very high dN/dS (more than 2). Our results indicate that gBGC significantly affects the evolution of coding sequences in primates, often leading to patterns of evolution that can be mistaken for positive selection.
PMCID: PMC2935097  PMID: 20643747
biased gene conversion; selection; recombination
10.  Mitochondrial whims: metabolic rate, longevity and the rate of molecular evolution 
Biology Letters  2009;5(3):413-416.
The evolutionary rate of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is highly variable across lineages in animals, and particularly in mammals. This variation has been interpreted as reflecting variations in metabolic rate: mitochondrial respiratory activity would tend to generate mutagenic agents, thus increasing the mutation rate. Here we review recent evidence suggesting that a direct, mechanical effect of species metabolic rate on mtDNA evolutionary rate is unlikely. We suggest that natural selection could act to reduce the (somatic) mtDNA mutation rate in long-lived species, in agreement with the mitochondrial theory of ageing.
PMCID: PMC2679905  PMID: 19324654
ageing; mutation; substitution; soma; antagonistic pleiotropy; reactive oxygen species
11.  Dealing with incongruence in phylogenomic analyses 
Incongruence between gene trees is the main challenge faced by phylogeneticists in the genomic era. Incongruence can occur for artefactual reasons, when we fail to recover the correct gene trees, or for biological reasons, when true gene trees are actually distinct from each other, and from the species tree. Horizontal gene transfers (HGTs) between genomes are an important process of bacterial evolution resulting in a substantial amount of phylogenetic conflicts between gene trees. We argue that the (bacterial) species tree is still a meaningful scientific concept even in the case of HGTs, and that reconstructing it is still a valid goal. We tentatively assess the amount of phylogenetic incongruence caused by HGTs in bacteria by comparing bacterial datasets to a metazoan dataset in which transfers are presumably very scarce or absent. We review existing phylogenomic methods and their ability to return to the user, both the vertical (speciation/extinction history) and horizontal (gene transfers) phylogenetic signals.
PMCID: PMC2607408  PMID: 18852109
horizontal gene transfer; phylogenomics; phylogenetic conflict; bacteria
12.  The erratic mitochondrial clock: variations of mutation rate, not population size, affect mtDNA diversity across birds and mammals 
During the last ten years, major advances have been made in characterizing and understanding the evolution of mitochondrial DNA, the most popular marker of molecular biodiversity. Several important results were recently reported using mammals as model organisms, including (i) the absence of relationship between mitochondrial DNA diversity and life-history or ecological variables, (ii) the absence of prominent adaptive selection, contrary to what was found in invertebrates, and (iii) the unexpectedly large variation in neutral substitution rate among lineages, revealing a possible link with species maximal longevity. We propose to challenge these results thanks to the bird/mammal comparison. Direct estimates of population size are available in birds, and this group presents striking life-history trait differences with mammals (higher mass-specific metabolic rate and longevity). These properties make birds the ideal model to directly test for population size effects, and to discriminate between competing hypotheses about the causes of substitution rate variation.
A phylogenetic analysis of cytochrome b third-codon position confirms that the mitochondrial DNA mutation rate is quite variable in birds, passerines being the fastest evolving order. On average, mitochondrial DNA evolves slower in birds than in mammals of similar body size. This result is in agreement with the longevity hypothesis, and contradicts the hypothesis of a metabolic rate-dependent mutation rate. Birds show no footprint of adaptive selection on cytochrome b evolutionary patterns, but no link between direct estimates of population size and cytochrome b diversity. The mutation rate is the best predictor we have of within-species mitochondrial diversity in birds. It partly explains the differences in mitochondrial DNA diversity patterns observed between mammals and birds, previously interpreted as reflecting Hill-Robertson interferences with the W chromosome.
Mitochondrial DNA diversity patterns in birds are strongly influenced by the wide, unexpected variation of mutation rate across species. From a fundamental point of view, these results are strongly consistent with a relationship between species maximal longevity and mitochondrial mutation rate, in agreement with the mitochondrial theory of ageing. Form an applied point of view, this study reinforces and extends the message of caution previously expressed for mammals: mitochondrial data tell nothing about species population sizes, and strongly depart the molecular clock assumption.
PMCID: PMC2660308  PMID: 19284537
13.  Evolutionary Modeling of Rate Shifts Reveals Specificity Determinants in HIV-1 Subtypes 
PLoS Computational Biology  2008;4(11):e1000214.
A hallmark of the human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) is its rapid rate of evolution within and among its various subtypes. Two complementary hypotheses are suggested to explain the sequence variability among HIV-1 subtypes. The first suggests that the functional constraints at each site remain the same across all subtypes, and the differences among subtypes are a direct reflection of random substitutions, which have occurred during the time elapsed since their divergence. The alternative hypothesis suggests that the functional constraints themselves have evolved, and thus sequence differences among subtypes in some sites reflect shifts in function. To determine the contribution of each of these two alternatives to HIV-1 subtype evolution, we have developed a novel Bayesian method for testing and detecting site-specific rate shifts. The RAte Shift EstimatoR (RASER) method determines whether or not site-specific functional shifts characterize the evolution of a protein and, if so, points to the specific sites and lineages in which these shifts have most likely occurred. Applying RASER to a dataset composed of large samples of HIV-1 sequences from different group M subtypes, we reveal rampant evolutionary shifts throughout the HIV-1 proteome. Most of these rate shifts have occurred during the divergence of the major subtypes, establishing that subtype divergence occurred together with functional diversification. We report further evidence for the emergence of a new sub-subtype, characterized by abundant rate-shifting sites. When focusing on the rate-shifting sites detected, we find that many are associated with known function relating to viral life cycle and drug resistance. Finally, we discuss mechanisms of covariation of rate-shifting sites.
Author Summary
The AIDS epidemic, inflicted by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has already claimed 25 million lives, thus posing a global threat. Since its discovery, several HIV subtypes have emerged, characterized by distinct genomic sequences and variable geographic locations. Here, we investigate the nature of the genetic differences among the subtypes. The neutral theory of evolution suggests that most genetic differences marginally affect the function of the encoded proteins (hence neutral) and thus occur randomly. Alternatively, changes in protein function are reflected by a pattern of nonrandom genetic differences. To address this issue, we developed a computational method, which studies the differences between sequences of different HIV subtypes, and estimates which of the explanations is more likely. Using a large sample of HIV protein sequences, we discovered that part of the variability among the subtypes is not random and possibly reflects different functional constraints imposed on the subtypes during the course of their evolution. An in-depth inspection of these nonrandom changes revealed a correlation with biological traits, such as drug resistance and mechanisms facilitating viral entry into the host cell. Interestingly, nonrandom changes are also characteristic of a viral strain that recently emerged in the former Soviet Union.
PMCID: PMC2566816  PMID: 18989394
14.  Detecting groups of coevolving positions in a molecule: a clustering approach 
Although the patterns of co-substitutions in RNA is now well characterized, detection of coevolving positions in proteins remains a difficult task. It has been recognized that the signal is typically weak, due to the fact that (i) amino-acid are characterized by various biochemical properties, so that distinct amino acids changes are not functionally equivalent, and (ii) a given mutation can be compensated by more than one mutation, at more than one position.
We present a new method based on phylogenetic substitution mapping. The two above-mentioned problems are addressed by (i) the introduction of a weighted mapping, which accounts for the biochemical effects (volume, polarity, charge) of amino-acid changes, (ii) the use of a clustering approach to detect groups of coevolving sites of virtually any size, and (iii) the distinction between biochemical compensation and other coevolutionary mechanisms. We apply this methodology to a previously studied data set of bacterial ribosomal RNA, and to three protein data sets (myoglobin of vertebrates, S-locus Receptor Kinase and Methionine Amino-Peptidase).
We succeed in detecting groups of sites which significantly depart the null hypothesis of independence. Group sizes range from pairs to groups of size ≃ 10, depending on the substitution weights used. The structural and functional relevance of these groups of sites are assessed, and the various evolutionary processes potentially generating correlated substitution patterns are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2248193  PMID: 18053141
15.  Phylogeographic support for horizontal gene transfer involving sympatric bruchid species 
Biology Direct  2006;1:21.
We report on the probable horizontal transfer of a mitochondrial gene, cytb, between species of Neotropical bruchid beetles, in a zone where these species are sympatric.
The bruchid beetles Acanthoscelides obtectus, A. obvelatus, A. argillaceus and Zabrotes subfasciatus develop on various bean species in Mexico. Whereas A. obtectus and A. obvelatus develop on Phaseolus vulgaris in the Mexican Altiplano, A. argillaceus feeds on P. lunatus in the Pacific coast. The generalist Z. subfasciatus feeds on both bean species, and is sympatric with A. obtectus and A. obvelatus in the Mexican Altiplano, and with A. argillaceus in the Pacific coast. In order to assess the phylogenetic position of these four species, we amplified and sequenced one nuclear (28S rRNA) and two mitochondrial (cytb, COI) genes.
Whereas species were well segregated in topologies obtained for COI and 28S rRNA, an unexpected pattern was obtained in the cytb phylogenetic tree. In this tree, individuals from A. obtectus and A. obvelatus, as well as Z. subfasciatus individuals from the Mexican Altiplano, clustered together in a unique little variable monophyletic unit. In contrast, A. argillaceus and Z. subfasciatus individuals from the Pacific coast clustered in two separated clades, identically to the pattern obtained for COI and 28S rRNA. An additional analysis showed that Z. subfasciatus individuals from the Mexican Altiplano also possessed the cytb gene present in individuals of this species from the Pacific coast. Zabrotes subfasciatus individuals from the Mexican Altiplano thus demonstrated two cytb genes, an "original" one and an "infectious" one, showing 25% of nucleotide divergence. The "infectious" cytb gene seems to be under purifying selection and to be expressed in mitochondria.
The high degree of incongruence of the cytb tree with patterns for other genes is discussed in the light of three hypotheses: experimental contamination, hybridization, and pseudogenisation. However, none of these seem able to explain the patterns observed. A fourth hypothesis, involving recent horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between A. obtectus and A. obvelatus, and from one of these species to Z. subfasciatus in the Mexican Altiplano, seems the only plausible explanation. The HGT between our study species seems to have occurred recently, and only in a zone where the three beetles are sympatric and share common host plants. This suggests that transfer could have been effected by some external vector such as a eukaryotic or viral parasite, which might still host the transferred fragment.
This article was reviewed by Eric Bapteste, Adam Eyre-Walker and Alexey Kondrashov.
PMCID: PMC1562361  PMID: 16872524
16.  Bio++: a set of C++ libraries for sequence analysis, phylogenetics, molecular evolution and population genetics 
BMC Bioinformatics  2006;7:188.
A large number of bioinformatics applications in the fields of bio-sequence analysis, molecular evolution and population genetics typically share input/ouput methods, data storage requirements and data analysis algorithms. Such common features may be conveniently bundled into re-usable libraries, which enable the rapid development of new methods and robust applications.
We present Bio++, a set of Object Oriented libraries written in C++. Available components include classes for data storage and handling (nucleotide/amino-acid/codon sequences, trees, distance matrices, population genetics datasets), various input/output formats, basic sequence manipulation (concatenation, transcription, translation, etc.), phylogenetic analysis (maximum parsimony, markov models, distance methods, likelihood computation and maximization), population genetics/genomics (diversity statistics, neutrality tests, various multi-locus analyses) and various algorithms for numerical calculus.
Implementation of methods aims at being both efficient and user-friendly. A special concern was given to the library design to enable easy extension and new methods development. We defined a general hierarchy of classes that allow the developer to implement its own algorithms while remaining compatible with the rest of the libraries. Bio++ source code is distributed free of charge under the CeCILL general public licence from its website .
PMCID: PMC1501049  PMID: 16594991
17.  A covarion-based method for detecting molecular adaptation: application to the evolution of primate mitochondrial genomes. 
A new method for detecting site-specific variation of evolutionary rate (the so-called covarion process) from protein sequence data is proposed. It involves comparing the maximum-likelihood estimates of the replacement rate of an amino acid site in distinct subtrees of a large tree. This approach allows detection of covarion at the gene or the amino acid levels. The method is applied to mammalian-mitochondrial-protein sequences. Significant covarion-like evolution is found in the (simian) primate lineage: some amino acid positions are fast-evolving (i.e. unconstrained) in non-primate mammals but slow-evolving (i.e. highly constrained) in primates, and some show the opposite pattern. Our results indicate that the mitochondrial genome of primates reached a new peak of the adaptive landscape through positive selection.
PMCID: PMC1691038  PMID: 12079652

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