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BEAST 2.07: A Powerful Tool for Molecular Evolution and Phylogeny

How to Download and Use BEAST 2.07 for Phylogenetic Analysis

Phylogenetic analysis is the study of the evolutionary history and relationships among or within groups of organisms or a particular characteristic of an organism. Phylogenetic analysis can provide valuable insights into biological diversity, evolution, ecology, and genomes.

One of the most popular and powerful software packages for performing Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of molecular sequences is BEAST (Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis by Sampling Trees). In this article, we will introduce you to the latest version of BEAST, which is BEAST 2.07, and show you how to download and use it for your phylogenetic analysis.

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What is BEAST 2.07?

A brief introduction to BEAST 2.07 and its features

BEAST 2.07 is a cross-platform program for Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of molecular sequences using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm. It estimates rooted, time-measured phylogenies using strict or relaxed molecular clock models. It can be used as a method of reconstructing phylogenies but is also a framework for testing evolutionary hypotheses without conditioning on a single tree topology.

BEAST 2.07 uses MCMC to average over tree space, so that each tree is weighted proportional to its posterior probability. It includes a graphical user-interface for setting up standard analyses and a suit of programs for analyzing the results.

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Some of the features of BEAST 2.07 are:

  • It supports various models of sequence evolution, substitution rates, tree priors, demographic models, molecular clocks, etc.

  • It allows users to extend its functionality via its package system, which enables the development and distribution of new models and methods.

  • It provides tools for visualizing and summarizing the output, such as TreeAnnotator, LogCombiner, LogAnalyser, DensiTree, etc.

  • It has an online manual and a book that provide detailed documentation and tutorials for users.

The differences between BEAST 2.07 and BEAST 1.x

BEAST 2.07 is a rewrite of BEAST 1.x, placing a greater emphasis on modularity. This makes it easier to extend BEAST 2.07 via its package system. As a result, BEAST 2.07 has rapidly acquired the ability to perform a diverse array of model-based analyses.

For a comparison of features/models currently available in BEAST 2.07 with those currently implemented in BEAST 1.x, refer to this .

How to Download BEAST 2.07?

The system requirements and supported platforms for BEAST 2.07

To run BEAST 2.07, you need:

  • A computer with at least 1 GB of RAM and a processor speed of at least 1 GHz.

  • A Java Runtime Environment (JRE) version 8 or higher installed on your computer.

  • An internet connection to download the software and the packages.

BEAST 2.07 supports the following platforms:

  • Windows (32-bit or 64-bit)

  • Mac OS X (64-bit)

  • Linux x86 ( 32-bit or 64-bit)

The steps to download and install BEAST 2.07 from the official website

To download and install BEAST 2.07, follow these steps:

  • Go to the official website of BEAST 2.07 at .

  • Click on the "Download" tab and choose the appropriate installer for your platform.

  • Save the installer file to your computer and run it.

  • Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.

  • Launch BEAST 2.07 from your applications menu or desktop shortcut.

How to Use BEAST 2.07?

The graphical user interface and the package manager of BEAST 2.07

BEAST 2.07 has a graphical user interface (GUI) called BEAUti (Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis Utility) that allows you to set up standard analyses without writing any XML code. BEAUti has several tabs that let you specify different aspects of your analysis, such as data, models, priors, operators, MCMC options, etc.

BEAST 2.07 also has a package manager that allows you to install and update additional packages that extend its functionality. You can access the package manager from the "File" menu in BEAUti or from the command line using the "addon" command. The package manager will show you a list of available packages and their descriptions, and let you install or uninstall them with a click of a button.

The steps to set up and run a standard analysis using BEAST 2.07

To set up and run a standard analysis using BEAST 2.07, follow these steps:

  • Launch BEAUti and create a new file or open an existing one.

  • Import your sequence data in FASTA, NEXUS, or PHYLIP format using the "Import Alignment" button on the "Partitions" tab.

  • Assign a site model, a clock model, and a tree prior to each partition using the "Site Model", "Clock Model", and "Priors" tabs respectively.

  • Specify the MCMC options, such as chain length, log frequency, file names, etc., using the "MCMC" tab.

  • Save your file as an XML file using the "Save" or "Save As" option from the "File" menu.

  • Launch BEAST 2.07 and open your XML file using the "Choose File..." button.

  • Click on the "Run" button to start the analysis.

  • Monitor the progress of the analysis using the console output or the log files.

The steps to analyze the results using the provided programs

To analyze the results of your analysis using BEAST 2.07, you can use the following programs that are provided with the software:

  • TreeAnnotator: This program summarizes the posterior sample of trees produced by BEAST 2.07 and generates a single tree with annotated node heights, posterior probabilities, etc.

  • LogCombiner: This program combines multiple log files into a single one, which can be useful for analyses that are run in parallel or with checkpointing.

  • LogAnalyser: This program calculates summary statistics and plots for log files, such as mean, median, standard deviation, effective sample size, trace plots, histograms, etc.

  • DensiTree: This program visualizes a set of trees by drawing them on top of each other with transparency, which can reveal patterns of tree uncertainty and consensus.


In this article, we have introduced you to BEAST 2.07, a powerful software package for Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of molecular sequences. We have shown you how to download and install BEAST 2.07 on your computer, how to use its graphical user interface and package manager, how to set up and run a standard analysis using BEAST 2.07, and how to analyze the results using the provided programs. We hope that this article has helped you to get started with BEAST 2.07 and that you will find it useful for your phylogenetic research.


Q: What are some of the advantages of Bayesian phylogenetic analysis over other methods?

A: Some of the advantages of Bayesian phylogenetic analysis are:

  • It provides a natural way of incorporating prior knowledge and uncertainty into the analysis.

  • It produces a posterior distribution of trees and parameters, which can be used to assess the support and credibility of different hypotheses.

  • It allows for the comparison of different models and hypotheses using Bayes factors or marginal likelihoods.

  • It facilitates the development and implementation of new models and methods via its modular framework.

Q: What are some of the challenges or limitations of Bayesian phylogenetic analysis?

A: Some of the challenges or limitations of Bayesian phylogenetic analysis are:

  • It can be computationally intensive and time-consuming, especially for large or complex data sets.

  • It requires careful selection and specification of prior distributions, which can affect the posterior inference.

  • It can suffer from convergence issues or sampling inefficiencies, which can lead to inaccurate or unreliable results.

It can be difficult to interpret or communicate the results, especially for


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