Tip of the Week: iTOL, Interactive Tree of Life

The Interactive Tree of Life (iTOL) “is an online tool for the display and manipulation of phylogenetic trees” developed by Ivica Letunic at the Bork Lab.*  It has most of the features of other tree visualization tools, but I find the circular view nice to use and the interface is very helpful. The tool uses Flash to generate and manipulate trees. Not only are you able to view and manipulate the tree of life (as reported here), but you can create taxonomic trees based on NCBI or other IDs, upload your own phylogenetic trees, create and share projects. Todays’ tip introduces you to some of the features of the site and get you started.

Addendum: I wanted to say more about datasets and API, but there’s so much there, I spent the entire 5 minute limit before I could go more in depth. Suffice it to say, iTOL gives you the ability to annotate your phylogenies with all sorts of data. Also, there is an API capability for the batch upload and export of trees available. It’s a great tool with a wealth of capabilities.

*Disclosure: I worked at the Bork lab as a researcher from 1999-2003 (before this tool came out), know Ivica and OH works with him now on our resource search tool :D. Even after all that, I ‘stumbled’ on this tool looking for something else and found it to be very useful!