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SDSC's CIPRES Science Gateway clarifies branches in evolution's 'tree of life'
Date:7/3/2012

A new Web resource developed at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California, San Diego is helping thousands of researchers worldwide unravel the enigmas of phylogenetics, the study of evolutionary relationships among virtually every species on the planet.

The CIPRES Science Gateway (CIPRES stands for Cyber Infrastructure for Phylogenetic RESearch), created by SDSC researchers, allows these studies to proceed in significantly shorter times without having to understand how to operate complex computers. Scientists anywhere in the world upload their data via a Web browser free of charge under a grant provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

CIPRES is part of the NSF's Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE). It is part of the XSEDE Science Gateway initiative, designed to provide scientists with broad and easy access to supercomputers.

Researchers say the gateway, and access to powerful supercomputers, are helping to answer increasingly sophisticated phylogenetic questions.

"The CIPRES Science Gateway makes it possible for researchers to make use of all this new information more quickly and effectively," said Mark Miller, principal investigator of the CIPRES Gateway. "Our team is excited to have supported more than 300 publications of phylogenetic studies involving species in every branch of the Tree of Life."

"It's an important additional step in the conduct of science," said Peter Nelson, a graduate student in the Department of Botany & Plant Pathology at Oregon State University in Corvallis. "This is a new opportunity for people who don't yet have grant money, but who want to do meaningful research and you don't have to leave your computer."

Nelson, a theorist in botany, is trying to understand the evolutionary processes that may operate one way in genetically homogeneous communities, but in a different way in more genetically diverse communities.
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Contact: Jan Zverina
jzverina@sdsc.edu
858-534-5111
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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