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New 'Tree of Life' established for one of the largest groups of bacteria
Date:5/17/2010

nce data. Allan Dickerman, Assistant Professor at VBI, remarked: "The consensus tree that we have put together for the gamma-proteobacteria is a powerful tool that can be used to predict shared biology and analyze, for example, the novel ways that bacteria have adapted to their living environments. Phylogenomics provides for very accurate reconstructions of inheritance from common ancestors."

The researchers looked at a very large class of bacteria that lack a well-resolved phylogenetic tree. By placing emphasis on searches for single-copy genes, the scientists were able to radically improve the resolution of the evolutionary tree. Said Williams, "Some parts of our tree were still not fully resolved, but we believe that future work will improve our method further to handle these deficiencies."

Bruno Sobral, Director of the CyberInfrastructure Section at VBI, commented: "The work described in this paper was inspired and funded by the needs of our PATRIC 2.0 project. The effort is part of the on-going work of PATRIC 2.0 team members to build a comprehensive, state-of-the-art bioinformatics resource for bacteria that serves the biomedical research community. Because of the exponentially growing number of bacterial genomes that PATRIC needs to handle, we are now in a phase where whole-genome phylogenetic analysis is both possible and necessary. PATRIC is integrating the very latest phylogenomic information and tools, such as those in this paper and a preceding publication that developed a phylogenetic tree for the alpha-proteobacteria**, into our system." He added: "This work is a great example of how PATRIC implements and deploys an infrastructure that will allow any person to develop these results in the future by going to the PATRIC site."

In October 2009, The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded a 5-year, $27,670,448 contract to Dr. Sobral's CyberInfrastr
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Contact: Barry Whyte
whyte@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-1767
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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