AlignStat: a web-tool and R package for statistical comparison of alternative multiple sequence alignments Academic Article uri icon


  • Alternative sequence alignment algorithms yield different results. It is therefore useful to quantify the similarities and differences between alternative alignments of the same sequences. These measurements can identify regions of consensus that are likely to be most informative in downstream analysis. They can also highlight systematic differences between alignments that relate to differences in the alignment algorithms themselves.Here we present a simple method for aligning two alternative multiple sequence alignments to one another and assessing their similarity. Differences are categorised into merges, splits or shifts in one alignment relative to the other. A set of graphical visualisations allow for intuitive interpretation of the data.AlignStat enables the easy one-off online use of MSA similarity comparisons or into R pipelines. The web-tool is available at The R package, readme and example data are available on CRAN and

publication date

  • 2016