01_Maloof_Intro_to_BIS2C_Outline

01_Maloof_Intro_to_BIS2C_Outline - BIS2C W2011 Introduction...

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BIS2C W2011 Lecture 1 (3 January 2011) 1 Introduction to the tree of life Today’s lecture (only 30 minutes) What is the “tree of life”? Topics to be covered in this class Tree terminology and concepts Later this week (through to next Monday): Building phylogenetic trees Applications of phylogenetic trees What is the tree of life? The tree of life refers to the concept that all living organisms are related to one another through shared ancestry. This evolutionary history – or phylogeny – can be represented by a kind of branching diagram called a tree . A tree is a simplified model of the genealogy of life. In this course we will survey the diversity of life by exploring different parts of the tree of life. Why are phylogenetic trees exciting and interesting? 1. Phylogeny is a profoundly unifying principle of life: all organisms are linked to one another through their shared evolutionary history, which goes back almost 4 billion years . Creatures as diverse as humans, lobsters, pine trees, mushrooms, jellyfish, etc. can all be traced back to a common ancestor. For some pairs of organisms (e.g., humans and chimps) the common ancestor is relatively recent, for others (e.g., humans and pine trees)
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