Scientists reveal a ‘new tree of life,’ a new diagram that outlines the evolution of all living things.
The tree of life is one of the most important organizing principles in biology. Charles Darwin in his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species,” envisioned evolution like a branching tree.
Above: An artistic representation of the tree of life, with the many groups of bacteria on the left, the uncultivable bacteria at upper right (purple), and the Archaea and eukaryotes (green) – which includes humans – at the lower right. Graphic by Zosia Rostomian, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley,redesigned the tree to add 1,000 new microscopic life forms, found in the past 15 years.
Jill Banfield, a UC Berkeley professor of earth and planetary science and environmental science, policy and management, said:
“The tree of life is one of the most important organizing principles in biology. The new depiction will be of use not only to biologists who study microbial ecology, but also biochemists searching for novel genes and researchers studying evolution and earth history.”
Eugene V. Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, said:
“It is a momentous discovery — an entire continent of life-forms.”
The new study was published in the journal Nature Microbiology:
Here, we use new genomic data from over 1,000 uncultivated and little known organisms, together with published sequences, to infer a dramatically expanded version of the tree of life, with Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya included.