New methods ring changes for the tree of life
McInerney, James O. and Wilkinson, Mark (2005) New methods ring changes for the tree of life. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 20 (3). pp. 105-107.
Relationships among prokaryotes and the origin of eukaryotes have both proven controversial, with results depending upon the gene sequences and methods used. Extensive horizontal gene transfer is one possible reason why inferring such deep phylogenetic relationships is difficult. In two recent papers, Lake and Rivera introduce new methods that can be used to reconstruct the genomic tree in the presence of horizontal gene transfers, but which suggest that a ring rather than a tree is a better representation of some parts of the history of life on Earth.
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