Phylogenetic trees online

August 20, 2010

(This article was first published on The Praise of Insects, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

The other day, an article was published in PLoS One describing a newly developed JavaScript library to visualise phylogenetic trees online: jsPhyloSVG. It’s pretty nifty, and there’s some pretty cool functionality that you can build into the trees. It’s all based on the PhyloXML standard for describing phylogenetic trees and networks, but can display trees stored as other formats, in particular the common NEWICK format. The resulting files are viewable in any web browser, though Internet Explorer is dragging the chain a bit and does not yet support the full interactivity that other browsers are capable of.

It would be real cool to be able to export trees made and manipulated in R into PhyloXML format, and subsequent into PhyloSVG. Might be a fun project to work on when I’ve scraped some other things off my plate…


Smits SA, Ouverney CC. (2010). jsPhyloSVG: A Javascript library for visualizing interactive and vector-based phylogenetic trees on the web. PLoS ONE 5(8): e12267. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012267

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