Aequatus: An open-source homology browser


Created on 15th June 2018

Anil S. Thanki; Nicola Soranzo; Javier Herrero; Wilfried Haerty; Robert P. Davey;


Background: Phylogenetic information inferred from the study of homologous genes helps us to understand the evolution of genes and gene families, including the identification of ancestral gene duplication events as well as regions under positive or purifying selection within lineages. Gene family and orthogroup characterisation enables the identification of syntenic blocks, which can then be visualised with various tools. Unfortunately, currently available tools display only an overview of syntenic regions as a whole, limited to the gene level, and none provide further details about structural changes within genes, such as the conservation of ancestral exon boundaries amongst multiple genomes. Findings: We present Aequatus, a standalone web-based tool that provides an in-depth view of gene structure across gene families, with various options to render and filter visualisations. It relies on pre-calculated alignment and gene feature information typically held in, but not limited to, the Ensembl Compara and Core databases. We also offer Aequatus.js, a reusable JavaScript module that fulfils the visualisation aspects of Aequatus, available within the Galaxy web platform as a visualisation plugin, which can be used to visualise gene trees generated by the GeneSeqToFamily workflow. Availability: Aequatus is an open-source tool freely available to download under the MIT license at https://github.com/TGAC/Aequatus. A demo server is available at http://aequatus.earlham.ac.uk/. A publicly available instance of the GeneSeqToFamily workflow to generate gene tree information and visualise it using Aequatus is available on the Galaxy EU server at https://usegalaxy.eu.

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