Monday, September 5, 2011

Article collection on the Tree Of Life in Biology Direct

The journal Biology Direct has initiated an article collection entitled "Beyond the tree of Life". The main focus of this series seems to be the challenges posed by evolutionary mechanisms, such as Horizontal Gene Transfer, that may blur or completely destroy the classical view of a bifurcating tree of life representing the evolutionary relationships of organisms, specially prokaryotes.

 The issue is not new, but the current wealth of genomic data and the availability of new methodological approaches to measure and compare the evolutionary signals of thousands of protein families has prompted a revival of the debate on how strong are tree-like and network-like signals in the different domains of life.

The series started last June and is being updated regularly. There are already interesting articles from various authors including William Martin, Eric Bateste, and Eugene Koonin.

A nice add-on, which is one of the features I lke the most about Biology Direct, is that reviewer's reports can be read along with the paper, thus having a complementary view of the author's interpretation of the data.

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