Aarhus Universitets segl

Phylogenetic Synthesis

How can we get the best, most up-to-date picture of our knowledge of the plant Tree of Life?

The plant Tree of Life is without doubt very incompletely known: less than 20% of all plant species and only about half of all plant genera have been placed in it using standard DNA sequences. However, looking at the bright side, this is already a lot of knowledge - but how accessible is it? Unfortunately, not very.

Most phylogenetically useful DNA data is stored in a few public databases, but using this data to build a solid, up-to-date tree is quite challenging and rarely done. We want to improve this process by developing new workflows that make it easy to obtain phylogenetic trees from all the relevant information that is out there. While doing this, we are also probing the existing data for important gaps and biases.

To this end, we have co-founded the PhyloSynth network and outlined a "roadmap" towards our goal of providing an integrated, up‐to‐date, high quality, open, reproducible and sustainable plant tree of life (Eiserhardt et al. 2018).

Now, we are implementing the first of our ideas with support from the Aarhus University Research Foundation.

Group members involved: Miao Sun, Alexander Rudbeck, Wolf Eiserhardt.

Key collaborators:Stephen Smith (University of Michigan), Bill Baker and Alexandre Antonelli (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew).

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