The Tree of Life

Posted on June 7, 2012

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The concept of the Tree of Life has been used in science, religion, mythology and philosophy, and is in fact the central motif of most of these concepts which seeks to explain the deep interconnectedness of the world around us. The Tree of Knowledge, which connects Heaven and the Underworld just as the Tree of Life and are represented cross-culturally, as one and the same. In recent years, Biology has been turned on its head, particularly concerning the Evolutionary Tree of Life. Here’s how:

“The problems began in the early 1990s when it became possible to sequence actual bacterial and archaeal genes rather than just RNA. Everybody expected these DNA sequences to confirm the RNA tree, and sometimes they did but, crucially, sometimes they did not. RNA, for example, might suggest that species A was more closely related to species B than species C, but a tree made from DNA would suggest the reverse.”

Leading evolutionary bioinformatics specialist W. Ford Doolittle explains, “Molecular phylogenists will have failed to find the ‘true tree,’ not because their methods are inadequate or because they have chosen the wrong genes, but because the history of life cannot properly be represented as a tree.” ~ Graham Laughton, New Scientist (Why Darwin Was Wrong About the Tree of Life)Image

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