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WARACS: Wrappers to Automate the Reconstruction of Ancestral Character States
- Applications in plant sciences 2016 v.4 no.2
- Prosopis, computer software, evolution, scientists, trees
- Premise of the study: Reconstructions of ancestral character states are among the most widely used analyses for evaluating the morphological, cytological, or ecological evolution of an organismic lineage. The software application Mesquite remains the most popular application for such reconstructions among plant scientists, even though its support for automating complex analyses is limited. A software tool is needed that automates the reconstruction and visualization of ancestral character states with Mesquite and similar applications.Methods and Results: A set of command line–based Python scripts was developed that (a) communicates standardized input to and output from the software applications Mesquite, BayesTraits, and TreeGraph2; (b) automates the process of ancestral character state reconstruction; and (c) facilitates the visualization of reconstruction results.Conclusions: WARACS provides a simple tool that streamlines the reconstruction and visualization of ancestral character states over a wide array of parameters, including tree distribution, character state, and optimality criterion.