Resolving the trunk of the angiosperm tree and 12 of its thorniest brances
Update: Click here for a preliminary tree of 577 angiosperms based on 12 genes.
The National Science Foundation's Assembling the Tree of Life is a grand initiative to describe the roughly 1.7 million known species on this planet in a comprehensive phylogeny of organisms to better aid in the retrieval, analysis and prediction of the earth's biota.
The Angiosperm Tree of Life (AToL) is comprised of multidisciplinary teams using innovative research to analyze whole-genomic sequences and multigene approaches to resolve the evolutionary relationship between all the major lineages of angiosperms. To date, AToL has resolved many of these problematic deep-level relationships, including among basal angiosperms, rosids, Caryophyllales, and Campanulids. Additionally, the AToL is using a newly recreated Campanulid supertree of over 4,000 taxa to explore the comparison of supertree and supermatrix approaches for building comprehensive phylogenetic trees. It represents one of the few studies using this comparison and will greatly advance the understanding of phylogenetic relationships when finished.
Aside from researching theory and resolving evolutionary relationships, the AToL scientists are committed to sharing extensive amounts and types of data for all scientific research. One way this is achieved is by using the web application TOLKIN, which is an information management system for phylodiversity and biodiversity research. TOLKIN supports the following NSF Assembling the Tree of Life groups: angiosperms, gymnosperms, liverworts, and Euphorbia. TOLKIN allows collaborators in different locations to access shared data on voucher specimens, taxonomy, bibliography, DNA samples and sequences.
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