Apr 1, 2020

mtDNAcombine: tools to combine sequences from multiple studies

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Eleanor F Miller, A. Manica


Today an unprecedented amount of genetic sequence data is stored in publicly available repositories. For decades now, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been the workhorse of genetic studies, and as a result, there is a large volume of mtDNA data available in these repositories for a wide range of species. Indeed, whilst whole genome sequencing is an exciting prospect for the future, for most non-model organisms' classical markers such as mtDNA remain widely used. By compiling existing data from multiple original studies, it is possible to build powerful new datasets capable of exploring many questions in ecology, evolution and conservation biology. One key question that these data can help inform is what happened in a species' demographic past. However, compiling data in this manner is not trivial, there are many complexities associated with data extraction, data quality and data handling. Here we present the mtDNAcombine package, a collection of tools developed to manage some of the major decisions associated with handling multi-study sequence data with a particular focus on preparing mtDNA data for Bayesian Skyline Plot demographic reconstructions.

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