MEGA is an integrated tool for conducting automatic and manual alignment, inferring phylogenetic trees, mining web-based databases, estimating rates of molecular evolution, inferring ancestral sequences, and testing evolutionary hypotheses. The objective of the MEGA software has been to provide tools for exploring, discovering, and analyzing DNA and protein sequences from an evolutionary perspective. The first version was developed for the limited computational resources that were available on the average personal computer in early 1990s. MEGA1 made many methods of evolutionary analysis easily accessible to the scientific community for research and education. MEGA2 was designed to harness the exponentially greater computing power and a graphical interface of the late 1990’s, fulfilling the fast- growing need for more extensive biological sequence analysis and exploration software. It expanded the scope of its predecessor from single gene to genome wide analyses. Two versions were developed (2.0 and 2.1), each supporting the analyses of molecular sequence (DNA and protein sequences) and pairwise distance data. Both could specify domains and genes for multi-gene comparative sequence analysis and could create groups of sequences that would facilitate the estimation of within- and among- group diversities and infer the higher-level evolutionary relationships of genes and species. MEGA2 implemented many methods for the estimation of evolutionary distances, the calculation of molecular sequence and genetic diversities within and among groups, and the inference of phylogenetic trees under minimum evolution and maximum parsimony criteria. It included the bootstrap and the confidence probability tests of reliability of the inferred phylogenies, and the disparity index test for examining the heterogeneity of substitution pattern between lineages. MEGA 4 continues where MEGA2 left off, emphasizing the integration of sequence acquisition with evolutionary analysis. It contains an array of input data and multiple results explorers for visual representation; the handling and editing of sequence data, sequence alignments, inferred phylogenetic trees; and estimated evolutionary distances. The results explorers allow users to browse, edit, summarize, export, and generate publication-quality captions for their results. MEGA 4 also includes distance matrix and phylogeny explorers as well as advanced graphical modules for the visual representation of input data and output results. These features, which we discuss below, set MEGA apart from other comparative sequence analysis programs
As with previous versions, MEGA 5 is specifically designed to reduce the time needed for mundane tasks in data analysis and to provide statistical methods of molecular evolutionary genetic analysis in an easy-to-use computing workbench. While MEGA 5 is distinct from previous versions, we have made a special effort to retain the user- friendly interface that researchers have come to identify with MEGA. We have simplified the file activation process, where you may select an analysis before needing to open a file.