Motivation: The estimation of large multiple sequence alignments (MSAs) is a basic bioinformatics challenge. Divide-and-conquer is a useful approach that has been shown to improve the scalability and accuracy of MSA estimation in established methods such as SATé and PASTA. In these divide-and-conquer strategies, a sequence dataset is divided into disjoint subsets, alignments are computed on the subsets using base MSA methods (e.g. MAFFT), and then merged together into an alignment on the full dataset. Results: We present MAGUS, Multiple sequence Alignment using Graph clUStering, a new technique for computing large-scale alignments. MAGUS is similar to PASTA in that it uses nearly the same initial steps (starting tree, similar decomposition strategy, and MAFFT to compute subset alignments), but then merges the subset alignments using the Graph Clustering Merger, a new method for combining disjoint alignments that we present in this study. Our study, on a heterogeneous collection of biological and simulated datasets, shows that MAGUS produces improved accuracy and is faster than PASTA on large datasets, and matches it on smaller datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1666-1672
Number of pages7
JournalBioinformatics (Oxford, England)
Issue number12
Early online dateNov 30 2020
StatePublished - Jun 15 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mathematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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