πBUSS: a parallel BEAST/BEAGLE utility for sequence simulation under complex evolutionary scenarios

Filip Bielejec, Philippe Lemey, Luiz Max Carvalho, Guy Baele, Andrew Rambaut, Marc A. Suchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Simulated nucleotide or amino acid sequences are frequently used to assess the performance of phylogenetic reconstruction methods. BEAST, a Bayesian statistical framework that focuses on reconstructing time-calibrated molecular evolutionary processes, supports a wide array of evolutionary models, but lacked matching machinery for simulation of character evolution along phylogenies.

Results: We present a flexible Monte Carlo simulation tool, called pi BUSS, that employs the BEAGLE high performance library for phylogenetic computations to rapidly generate large sequence alignments under complex evolutionary models. pBUSS sports a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) that allows combining a rich array of models across an arbitrary number of partitions. A command-line interface mirrors the options available through the GUI and facilitates scripting in large-scale simulation studies. pBUSS may serve as an easy-to-use, standard sequence simulation tool, but the available models and data types are particularly useful to assess the performance of complex BEAST inferences. The connection with BEAST is further strengthened through the use of a common extensible markup language (XML), allowing to specify also more advanced evolutionary models. To support simulation under the latter, as well as to support simulation and analysis in a single run, we also add the pBUSS core simulation routine to the list of BEAST XML parsers.

Conclusions: pBUSS offers a unique combination of flexibility and ease-of-use for sequence simulation under realistic evolutionary scenarios. Through different interfaces, pBUSS supports simulation studies ranging from modest endeavors for illustrative purposes to complex and large-scale assessments of evolutionary inference procedures. Applications are not restricted to the BEAST framework, or even time-measured evolutionary histories, and pBUSS can be connected to various other programs using standard input and output format.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2014

Keywords

  • Simulation
  • Monte Carlo
  • Phylogenetics
  • BEAST
  • BEAGLE
  • Evolution
  • AMINO-ACID SUBSTITUTION
  • MAXIMUM-LIKELIHOOD APPROACH
  • MONTE-CARLO-SIMULATION
  • PROTEIN EVOLUTION
  • MITOCHONDRIAL-DNA
  • NUCLEOTIDE SUBSTITUTION
  • MOLECULAR-DATA
  • MODEL
  • REPLACEMENT
  • PHYLOGENY

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