Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Building A Tree Of Life Needs Less 'Wood'

Date:
November 30, 2004
Source:
University Of California, Davis
Summary:
Building a "tree of life" for all the species on the planet may be easier than first thought, according to a study by UC Davis researchers published in the journal Science Nov. 12.

Building a "tree of life" for all the species on the planet may be easier than first thought, according to a study by UC Davis researchers published in the journal Science Nov. 12.

A tree of life shows how living things have evolved since the origins of life billions of years ago, grouping related organisms on the same branch. Such trees provide an organizing framework for biology. They can be used for predicting the properties of poorly known species and are powerful tools for tasks such as drug discovery, said Michael Sanderson, professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis and senior author on the paper.

Comparing protein and DNA sequences is a powerful tool for creating trees, because large amounts of data can be generated quite easily. But existing databases contain big gaps, because some organisms have been studied very heavily while many others are represented by single entries or not at all.

Postdoctoral researcher Amy Driskell and colleagues from Sanderson's laboratory analyzed over 300,000 protein and DNA sequences deposited by scientists in the GenBank and Swiss-Prot public databases. They found that even though there were big gaps in the data, with many groups of organisms represented by a single sequence, it was still possible to construct useful trees starting from samples of 16,000 green plants and 7,500 plants and animals.

"It's pretty surprising that you can draw conclusions from such a small amount of information, compared to how much there would be if the databases contained a better sample of biodiversity," Sanderson said.

Researchers can now take the same approach and add more information from sequence databases, increasing the resolution of phylogenetic trees, he said.

The other authors on the paper are Cιcile Anι, now assistant professor of statistics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; UC Davis postdoctoral researchers Gordon Burleigh and Michelle McMahon; and graduate student Brian O'Meara, also at UC Davis. The work is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, Davis. "Building A Tree Of Life Needs Less 'Wood'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123204843.htm>.
University Of California, Davis. (2004, November 30). Building A Tree Of Life Needs Less 'Wood'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123204843.htm
University Of California, Davis. "Building A Tree Of Life Needs Less 'Wood'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123204843.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
USDA Cracks Down On Imports From Foreign Puppy Mills

USDA Cracks Down On Imports From Foreign Puppy Mills

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — New USDA measures to regulate dog imports aim to crack down on buying dogs from overseas puppy mills. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bone Marrow Drug Regrows Hair In Some Alopecia Patients

Bone Marrow Drug Regrows Hair In Some Alopecia Patients

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — Researchers performed an experiment using an FDA-approved drug known as ruxolitinib. They found it to be successful in the majority of patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins