June 26, 2006

The Tree of Life is not rooted in the Archaea

A new article rejects the hypothesis that the tree of life on the planet is rooted in the Archaea.

Molecular Biology and Evolution (Advance Access)

Evidence that the Root of the Tree of Life is not within the Archaea

Ryan G. Skophammer et al.


The Archaea occupy uncommon and extreme habitats around the world. They manufacture unusual compounds, utilize novel metabolic pathways, and contain many unique genes. Many suspect, due to their novel properties, that the root of the tree of life may be within the Archaea, although there is little direct evidence for this root. Here, using gene insertions and deletions found within protein synthesis factors present in all prokaryotes and eukaryotes, we present statistically significant evidence that the root of life is outside the Archaea.


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