MegAlign Pro offers both gene-level and genome-level multiple alignment algorithms.


Gene-level alignment of either protein or nucleotide sequences:

In general, the three gene-level aligners have higher accuracy than the genome-level (Mauve) aligner. They offer editable options for speed, capacity, algorithm, etc., and are the only methods available for “profile” alignments. The disadvantages to gene-level aligners is that sequences must be on same strand, and that large rearrangements (e.g., inversions, translocations) are not allowed.

  • Clustal OmegaClustal Omega (Sievers F et al., 2011) was developed at University College Dublin, and is the most advanced version of Clustal. It can align hundreds of thousands of sequences in just a few hours. This method has few editable options, but has high, 64-bit capacity on both Windows and Macintosh.
  • Clustal W – Clustal W aligns sequences using the method of Thompson et al. (1994). Clustal W was designed to create more accurate alignments than Clustal V when alignments include highly diverged sequences. However, Clustal W does not always handle end-gaps ideally. Also, note that true Clustal W performance is only achieved when you choose the default “Slow-Accurate” option rather than the “Fast-Approximate” option.
  • MAFFTMAFFT (Multiple Alignment Fast Fourier Transform; Katoh M & Kumar M, 2002) was developed by the Computational Biology Research Center and generously donated to the public domain. This method has many editable options, and provides a variety of algorithms for different scenarios and a choice of very slow to very fast speeds. It has 32-bit capacity on Windows, and 64-bit on Macintosh. See the CBRC’s MAFFT page for additional references.
  • MUSCLE – The MUSCLE alignment algorithm was developed by Dr. Robert Edgar (Edgar RC, 2004 & 2004), who very kindly donated it to the public domain. It is one of the faster aligners, and has numerous selectable options. MUSCLE features iterative cycles that guide tree refinement and realignment. Like MAFFT, it has 32-bit capacity on Windows, and 64-bit on Macintosh.


Genome-level alignment of nucleotide sequences:

In comparison to the methods above, the genome-level aligner allows large rearrangements. However, it only allows nucleotide sequences, and fine-scale gapping may not be as good as in gene-level aligners.

  • Mauve was developed in the Genome Evolution Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Darling AE, Mau B, and Perna NT, 2010) and is licensed under a GNU General Public License. Mauve has high capacity and uses MUSCLE to create multiple alignments for each block that contains more than a single sequence. The Mauve algorithm is currently the only MegAlign Pro alignment method that is:

    • suitable for aligning very long sequences up to genome-length.

    • capable of producing an alignment when one or more of the sequences are rearranged relative to one another.

    • capable of producing a multi-block alignment (see Overview).

    • only available for nucleotide sequences.

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