The Tree of Life’ created with 2.3 million species

The Tree of Life’ created with 2.3 million species
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After mapping nearly 2.3 million species, researchers have released first draft of ‘Tree of Life’. Two researchers from the University of Michigan have played a key role in creation of the ‘Tree of Life’, a project on which eminent researchers from 11 institutions worked tirelessly. The tree traces back the life on our planet nearly 3.5 billion years ago.
The researchers have excellently matched relationships between various species and how some of them diverged from each other over time. Many species have been included in similar efforts done in the past for mapping and tracking life forms. The current project has combined some of those smaller subsets of the massive ‘Tree of Life’.
The project offers much better view of how various species emerged on our planet. It might help scientists in developing solutions for complex problems and diseases. It can also help in tracing the life and development of various species over time.

The project details have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on September 18 online edition. The research team has termed it as the first draft.
Principal investigator Karen Cranston of Duke University said, "Think of it as Version 1.0. This is the first real attempt to connect the dots and put it all together."
Christopher Owen of the University of Florida; Lyndon Coghill, Peter Midford and Richard Ree of the Field Museum of Natural History; James Allman of Interrobang Corporation; Bryan Drew of the University of Nebraska-Kearney; Romina Gazis and David Hibbett of Clark University were also members of the project team.

Cody Hinchliff from the University of Idaho said, “Many participants on the project contributed hundreds of hours tracking down and cleaning up thousands of trees from the literature, then selecting 484 of them that were used to generate the draft tree of life.”
Hinchliff has earlier worked with University of Michigan evolutionary biologist Stephen Smith. Smith informed, "In addition to the process of combining existing trees, much of what was done at the University of Michigan was the development of tools and techniques and the analysis of the tree itself. To complete this project, we had to code our own solutions. There was nothing out of the box that we could use.”
The research project received $5.76 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation. University of Michigan also contributed $900,000 for the research project.

Created: Nycity
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