Bacterial Tree of Life Project

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Tony Rook
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Bacterial Tree of Life Project

Here is a link to the Bacterial Tree of Life Project which is funded by the NSF Tree of Life Program.

Here is an overview of the project as posted on their website...

In this project, the power of genome sequencing will be harnessed to better understand the bacterial branches of the Tree of Life. This "phylogenomics" project, which will integrate genomic and phylogenetic studies, is one segment of the National Science Foundation's "Assembling the Tree of Life" program, announced this week.

The first complete genome sequence of a free-living organism was determined at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) in 1995. In the years since then, complete genome sequences have been determined for a wide diversity of species including bacterial pathogens, extremophiles, protistan parasites, plants, animals, and fungi. While these include representatives from each of the three major branches in the tree of life (the Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya) only a limited subset of each of these groups has been studied. In particular, despite the vast diversity of bacterial species and their importance as pathogens and the foundation of many ecosystems, many major groups have been neglected.

The goal of this project, a collaboration between TIGR and the Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB), is to fill some of the gaps in our knowledge in the bacterial domain. Specifically, this project involves sequencing the complete genomes of representative strains of eight bacterial phyla. Each phylum represents a major branch in the "Tree of Life" and the phyla that were selected (Chrysiogenetes, Deferribacteres, Dictyoglomus, Nitrospira, Coprothermobacter, Synergistes, Thermodesulfobacteria, and Thermomicrobium) have not yet been explored using whole genome sequencing.

The data from these genome sequences will then be used

1. To improve the understanding of the complex phylogenetic
relationships among major bacterial phyla
2. To provide information and resources that will allow
scientists to examine the evolutionary relationships within
these poorly understood phyla in more depth than is now
possible and
3. To launch experimental studies on the biology and
physiology of organisms in these phyla.

ryan_m's picture
A nice project that is

A nice project that is working on the broader tree of life can be found at T his project even includes extinct species. I like the browsablility of the full taxonomy this site provides.


ryan_m's picture
Earth's Species To Be

Earth's Species To Be Cataloged On the Web

Matt clues us in to a project to compile everything known about all of Earth's 1.8 million known species and put it all on one Web site, open to the world. The effort is called the Encyclopedia of Life. It will include species descriptions, pictures, maps, videos, sound, sightings by amateurs, and links to entire genomes and scientific journal papers. The site was unveiled today in Washington where the massive effort was announced by some of the world's leading institutions. The project is expected to take about 10 years to complete; it starts out with committed funding for 1/4 of that."

Link to the discussion and original article.

Tony Rook
Tony Rook's picture
Wow! What an incredible

Wow! What an incredible undertaking and a huge boost for life science research or just simply education for anyone who may be interested.

Here is the link to the website - Encyclopedia of Life