HomoplasyFinder: A simple tool to identify homoplasies on a phylogeny

Joseph Crispell, Daniel Balaz, Stephen Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A homoplasy is a nucleotide identity resulting from a process other than inheritance from a common ancestor. Importantly, by distorting the ancestral relationships between nucleotide sequences, homoplasies can change the structure of the phylogeny. Homoplasies can emerge naturally, especially under high selection pressures, and/or high mutation rate, or be created during the generation and processing of sequencing data. Identification of homoplasies is critical, both to understand their influence on the analyses of phylogenetic data, and to allow an investigation into how they arose.
Here we present HomoplasyFinder, a tool that can be used within the statistical programming environment R and as a Java application. Within R and Java, HomoplasyFinder is shown to be able to automatically, and quickly, identify any homoplasies present in simulated and real phylogenetic data. HomoplasyFinder can easily be incorporated into existing analysis pipelines, either within or outside of R, allowing the user to quickly identify homoplasies to inform downstream analyses and interpretation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2019


  • HomoplasyFinder
  • convergence
  • Java
  • R package
  • homoplasy
  • phylogenetic


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