Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Journal of Biology and BioMed Central.

Highly Accessed Open Badges Minireview

Trees in the Web of Life

Kristen S Swithers, J Peter Gogarten and Gregory P Fournier*

Author affiliations

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, 91 North Eagleville Road, Storrs, CT 06269-3125, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Citation and License

Journal of Biology 2009, 8:54  doi:10.1186/jbiol160

Published: 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.