Evolutionary biologists solve puzzle of evolutionary relationships among vertebrates

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 10:02 in Biology & Nature

Using the largest and most informative molecular phylogenetic dataset ever analysed, evolutionary biologists were able to construct a new phylogenetic tree of jawed vertebrates. This new tree resolves several key relationships that have remained controversial, including the identification of lungfishes as the closest living relatives of land vertebrates. The evolution of jawed vertebrates is part of our own history since humans belong to the tetrapods more specifically we are mammals, or, even more specifically, primates. The study utilised a novel set of newly developed analyses for building and reconstructing, large-scale genomic datasets. In the future, this method might also be used to reconstruct the evolutionary relationships among other enigmatic groups of organisms that await resolution. The research was done as part of a large collaborative work between several laboratories, with evolutionary biologists Dr Iker Irisarri and Professor Axel Meyer from the University of Konstanz among the principal investigators.

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