03 August

A new view of the tree of life

Natasha got her first co-authorship in Nature (Microbiology) this year. The article was entitled "A new view of the tree of life" and the coauthor list is Laura A. Hug, Brett J. Baker, Karthik Anantharaman, Christopher T. Brown, Alexander J. Probst, Cindy J. Castelle, Cristina N. Butterfield, Alex W. Hernsdorf, Yuki Amano, Kotaro Ise, Yohey Suzuki, Natasha Dudek (UC Santa Cruz), David A. Relman (Natasha's supervisor at Stanford) , Kari M. Finstad, Ronald Amundson, Brian C. Thomas and Jillian F. Banfield. The article deals with the fact that the tree of life appears to be more diverse than was a originally suspected, and it based on genomic evidence includes a huge branch of bacterial organisms known as the Candidate Phyla Radiation (CPR) making the tree far larger then ever before. As I non-biologist, I was amazed by this result and this it's a fascinating realization. Natasha's speciality, incidentally, is metagenomic analysis. In the words of the authors: "The tree of life as we know it has dramatically expanded due to new genomic sampling of previously enigmatic or unknown microbial lineages. "

Jill Banfield of UC Berkely is quoted in Berkeley News as saying "The two main take-home points I see in this tree are the prominence of major lineages that have no cultivable representatives, and the great diversity in the bacterial domain, most importantly, the prominence of candidate phyla radiation." This is the real deal in terms on scientific impact on our understanding of the world we live in, and I think its a fascinating article.

Excerpt of the
tree of life

By Gregory Dudek at | Read (1) or Leave a comment |    
Re: Natasha gets an article in Nature Microbiology

Cool! Things have changed a lot since I took high school biology, in part because of discoveries like this one. My spouse is taking a microbiology course and there's a lot of material about how RNA works (could even be thought of as genetics). I also noticed this related New Yorker article.


Posted by: plam at August 04,2016 15:37
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