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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

The Tree of Life, Re-imagined

The Tree of Life, Re-imagined

A Tree of Life from the Norse Sagas (credit: Wiki-commons)

In one form or another, a Tree of Life has been symbolic in most religious traditions. All such 'trees' attempt to tell an origin story of one sort or another. The science of biology is no exception but its complicate. Compiling all living organisms and correctly illustrating their evolutionary relationships has been like searching for the Holy Grail. It has been a daunting task considering more than two million species are currently known to exist and new species are discovered every year.

Publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) researchers at the University of Michigan and elsewhere have produced a comprehensive tree-of-life based on DNA data. Their study is the first to apply an efficient and automated process for combining existing life science trees into a full assemblage. The new digital version is readily updated as additional species are identified and genetic data becomes available. The map visualization and related open-source data is available to download and the PNAS article is available here.

             New Tree of Life Visualization (credit: PNAS)

A video explains the importance and utility of the new evolutionary construct. Where do you fit on this new Tree of Life? WHB

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