What is Arlequin ?

Arlequin is an exploratory population genetics software environment able to handle large samples of molecular data (RFLPs, DNA sequences, microsatellites), while retaining the capacity of analyzing conventional genetic data (standard multi-locus data or mere allele frequency data).

A variety of population genetics methods have been implemented either at the intra-population or at the inter-population level, and they can be conveniently selected and parameterized through a graphical interface.

Arlequin has no equivalent in his field and will be extremely useful to analyzed the large data sets which are now available by the use of the latest molecular engineering techniques.

Arlequin's Versatility

Arlequin has been designed to be able to handle different types of molecular or conventional (non-molecular or frequency-type) data. It can also handle data either presented in the form of genotype frequencies, or the form of haplotype frequencies, as well as the possibility of treating codominant or recessive data (with the definition of a single recessive allele per locus).

Molecular data can be analyzed by entering their definition (as DNA sequences, RFLP haplotypes, microsatellite profiles, or multilocus haplotypes), or by entering a distance matrix defining the relationships among the haplotypes (as was done with our previous AMOVA software). The data format is specified in an input file.

Arlequin's Graphic User Interface

The graphic interface of Arlequin 2.000 has been entirely redesigned. It is written in Java in order to present a consistent look and behavior across different platforms. Due to the fact that Java is interpreted on most machines, Arlequin may be a bit slower to respond than earlier versions.

The graphic interface is now completely separated from the core routines written in C++, to preserve computing speed. The graphic interface make a call to the compiled core routines when pressing the Run button of the interface.

The interface allows you to :

FNRS Arlequin's development was supported by
Swiss National Science Foundation
grants #32 37821-93 and #32 47053-96

Why Arlequin ?

Arlequin is the French translation of "Arlecchino", a famous character of the Italian "Commedia dell'Arte". As a character, he has many aspects, but he has the ability to switch among them very easily according to its needs and to necessities. This polymorphic ability is symbolized by his colorful costume, from which the Arlequin icon was designed. As the present software is about the study of genetic polymorphism, the name of Arlequin appeared perfectly suited.

Arlequin's Registered Users

Arlequin's web site is regularly visited by hosts form all over the world. Over 75 different domains are logged in Arlequin's usage statistics. The Arlequin software was downloaded over 8'000 times since its introduction in January 1997.

Become a registered user of Arlequin, and send us your comments about the program. The most pertinent and original will be posted on site.

Arlequin's Authors

Laurent 'loro' Excoffier Stefan 'stef' Schneider David 'davo' Roessli

Arlequin on the Web

Arlequin's WWW site was officially opened on June 15th, 1996. It is hosted by the Department of Anthropology & Ecology of the University of Geneva.

Arlequin's beta testing period ended on January 31st, 1996 at midnight - time at which version "1-point-oh-no" was released to the scientific community.

December 17th, 1997, less than a year later, version 1.1, a significant update, was uploaded to its web site. The same week, Arlequin's Official User Manual was released in Adobe Acrobat Format.

March 31th, 2000, version 2.000 was released after nine months of intensive beta testing (thanks to all who took part in this program!).