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Dating branches on the tree of life using dna

But the tree’s website includes links to the original studies examined that offer alternate views, she adds.

Furthermore, the site is built to accept feedback and incorporate new data that will eventually be used to update the tree.

These days, phylogeneticists – experts who painstakingly map the complex branches of the tree of life – suffer from an embarrassment of riches.

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“A lot of the debate on the differences in the trees has been between studies concerning the ‘bushy’ branches that took place in these ‘radiations’,” Rokas said.

Called One Zoom, the project works like Google Maps in that a user can drill down the tree’s trunks, branches, and tips to see ever finer details.

In this video, One Zoom starts out with an overview of the tree, then zooms in on successively more detailed branches that lead first to animals, then to placental bearing mammals, and finally to humans.

Two recent high-profile studies reached conflicting conclusions about whether the closest relatives of snails are bivalves (clams, oysters, mussels) or an enigmatic group of organisms called tusk shells.

(Antonis Rokas / Vanderbilt) By adapting an algorithm from information theory, the researchers found that they could use these distinct gene genealogies to quantify the conflict and focus on those parts of the tree that are problematic.

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