The Tree of Life, which depicts how life has evolved and diversified on the planet, is getting a lot more complicated.
UC Berkeley researchers, who have discovered more than a thousand new types of bacteria and Archaea over the past 15 years lurking in Earth’s nooks and crannies, have rejiggered the tree to account for the microscopic new life forms. The new tree, published online in the journal Nature Microbiology, reinforces once again that the life we see around us – plants, animals, humans and other so-called eukaryotes – represent a tiny percentage of the world’s biodiversity.
The work was led by Jill Banfield, a senior faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division and a UC Berkeley professor in the departments of earth and planetary science and environmental science, policy and management.
The research was supported primarily by Berkeley Lab’s Genomes to Watershed Scientific Focus Area. Metagenomic sequencing was carried out at the Joint Genome Institute.
“The Tree of Life is one of the most important organizing principles in biology,” said Banfield in a UC Berkeley news release. “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.”
Go here to read the UC Berkeley news release.
This post prepared by Dan Krotz