Trees in the Web of Life
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Journal of Biology 2009, 8:54 doi:10.1186/jbiol160Published: 13 July 2009
Reconstructing the 'Tree of Life' is complicated by extensive horizontal gene transfer between diverse groups of organisms. While numerous conceptual and technical obstacles remain, a report in this issue of Journal of Biology from Koonin and colleagues on the largest-scale prokaryotic genomic reconstruction yet attempted shows that such a tree is discernible, although its branches cannot be traced.