Supplementary material for: nQMaker: estimating time non-reversible amino acid substitution models
Dang, Cuong et al. (2022), Supplementary material for: nQMaker: estimating time non-reversible amino acid substitution models, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3tx95x6hx
Amino acid substitution models are a key component in phylogenetic analyses of protein sequences. All commonly-used amino acid models available to date are time-reversible, an assumption designed for computational convenience but not for biological reality. Another significant downside to time-reversible models is that they do not allow inference of rooted trees without outgroups. In this paper, we introduce a maximum likelihood approach nQMaker, an extension of the recently published QMaker method, that allows the estimation of time non-reversible amino acid substitution models and rooted phylogenetic trees from a set of protein sequence alignments. We show that the non-reversible models estimated with nQMaker are a much better fit to empirical alignments than pre-existing reversible models, across a wide range of datasets including mammals, birds, plants, fungi, and other taxa, and that the improvements in model fit scale with the size of the dataset. Notably, for the recently published plant and bird trees, these non-reversible models correctly recovered the commonly estimated root placements with very high statistical support without the need to use an outgroup. We provide nQMaker as an easy-to-use feature in the IQ-TREE software (http://www.iqtree.org), allowing users to estimate non-reversible models and rooted phylogenies from their own protein datasets.