Many analyses for the detection of biological phenomena rely on a multiple sequence alignment as input. The results of such analyses are often further studied through parametric bootstrap procedures, using sequence simulators. One of the problems with conducting such simulation studies is that users currently have no means to decide which insertion and deletion (indel) parameters to choose, so that the resulting sequences mimic biological data. Here, we present SpartaABC, a web server that aims to solve this issue. SpartaABC implements an approximate-Bayesian-computation rejection algorithm to infer indel parameters from sequence data. It does so by extracting summary statistics from the input. It then performs numerous sequence simulations under randomly sampled indel parameters. By computing a distance between the summary statistics extracted from the input and each simulation, SpartaABC retains only parameters behind simulations close to the real data. As output, SpartaABC provides point estimates and approximate posterior distributions of the indel parameters. In addition, SpartaABC allows simulating sequences with the inferred indel parameters. To this end, the sequence simulators, Dawg 2.0 and INDELible were integrated. Using SpartaABC we demonstrate the differences in indel dynamics among three protein-coding genes across mammalian orthologs.
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