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All 2.3 Million Species Are Mapped into a Single Circle of Life

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opednews.com Headlined to H4 3/13/16

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Circle of Life
Circle of Life
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Since Charles Darwin's day, biologists have depicted how new organisms evolve from old ones by adding branches to numerous trees that represent portions of the animal, plant and microbial kingdoms. Researchers from a dozen institutions recently completed a three-year effort to combine tens of thousands of trees into one diagram, most readable as a circle (below). The lines inside the circle represent all 2.3 million species that have been named. Biologists have genetic sequences for only about 5 percent of them, however; as more are finished, the relationships within and across groups of species may change.

Anyone can propose updates to the database (OpenTreeOfLife.org). Greater detail could improve understanding of evolution and help scientists invent drugs, make crops more productive and better control infectious diseases.

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At www.scientificamerican.com

 

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Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:
http://www.americaisnotbroke.net/

Scott is a former President of Common Ground-NYC (http://commongroundnyc.org/), a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens of articles for (more...)
 

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