Visualization Submission

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Sam Smits

Jun 21, 2010, 10:59:13 PM6/21/10

Dear reviewers,

 We have developed an open-source javascript library, jsPhyloSVG, which facilitates constructing interactive phylogenetic trees from raw Newick or phyloXML formats directly within the browser in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format. Visualizations generated using the library are accessible using all popular browsers with the exception of Internet Explorer which does not support SVG. In this case, the library degrades gracefully and renders an alternate visualization in VML. The library is novel in offering the ability to render interactive, vector tree visualizations from raw data formats within the browser without necessitating third-party plugins. Unlike static images, the visualizations are produced from markup and are exposed to data-mining tools.

We are actively developing an application, phyloTouch, which leverages the advantages of jsPhyloSVG and produces an interactive phylogenetic tree visualization on touch-enabled devices, and more specifically on Apple’s iPad. The application is capable of accepting Newick and phyloXML files directly, rendering a visualization, and parsing the underlying markup to serve relevant content with the aid of Genbank and Google Maps, among other online web services. This unique approach produces an interactive tool which can aid further investigation while not requiring the user to install or utilize any complex server actions except for hosting the javascript files. We are presently in active discussions with an online web service and anticipate a new round of features to be added to the application shortly.

Documentation and source code of the javascript library is accessible at: The proof-of-concept application may be found and demoed at

Thank you for your consideration,


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