Evolutionary tree of life for mammals greatly improved

An international research team led by biologists at the University of California, Riverside and Texas A&M University has released for the first time a large and robust DNA matrix that has representation for all mammalian families. The matrix — the culmination of about five years of painstaking research — has representatives for 99 percent of mammalian families, and covers not only the earliest history of mammalian diversification but also all the deepest divergences among living mammals.

“This is the first time this kind of dataset has been put together for mammals,” said Mark Springer, a professor of biology at UC Riverside, who co-led the research project with William Murphy, an associate professor of genetics at Texas A&M. “Until now, no one has been able to assemble this kind of matrix, based on DNA sequences from many different genes, to examine how the different families of mammals are related to each other. This dataset, with all the sequences we generated, provides a large and reliable foundation — a springboard — for biologists to take the next leap in this field of work. We can now progress from phylogeny that has representatives for all the different mammalian families to phylogenies that have representatives for genera and species.”

via Evolutionary tree of life for mammals greatly improved.

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