SHERLOCK – an Automatized Analysis of Molecular Sequence Variation
Phylogenetic trees are commonly used to gain information on organisms evolutionary relationships based on molecular sequences (e.g. genes, proteins, genomes). In a reconstructed tree, it can be assumed that the additive branch lengths from one sequence to another reflect the amount of evolutionary change between these two sequences. The sum of branch lengths that link two nodes in a tree can be used to calculate the overall so called phylogenetic diversity of a tree, i.e. the total evolutionary change inferred for a set of taxa. With Sherlock, we provide a simple and efficient tool to statistically analyse phylogenetic diversity in sequence data in comparison with a null-model distribution based on randomly drawn sequences of the original data set. SHERLOCK incorporates external alignment and tree reconstruction software, which allows for the first time a fully automatized analysis and visualization of patristic distances on the basis of raw sequence data.