How and Why to Build a Unified Tree of Life

Emily Jane McTavish, Bryan T. Drew, Ben Redelings, Karen A. Cranston

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phylogenetic trees are a crucial backbone for a wide breadth of biological research spanning systematics, organismal biology, ecology, and medicine. In 2015, the Open Tree of Life project published a first draft of a comprehensive tree of life, summarizing digitally available taxonomic and phylogenetic knowledge. This paper reviews, investigates, and addresses the following questions as a follow-up to that paper, from the perspective of researchers involved in building this summary of the tree of life: Is there a tree of life and should we reconstruct it? Is available data sufficient to reconstruct the tree of life? Do we have access to phylogenetic inferences in usable form? Can we combine different phylogenetic estimates across the tree of life? And finally, what is the future of understanding the tree of life?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1700114
JournalBioEssays
Volume39
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • data deposition
  • evolution
  • open science
  • phylogeny
  • tree of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'How and Why to Build a Unified Tree of Life'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    McTavish, E. J., Drew, B. T., Redelings, B., & Cranston, K. A. (2017). How and Why to Build a Unified Tree of Life. BioEssays, 39(11), [1700114]. https://doi.org/10.1002/bies.201700114