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Trends Ecol Evol. 2008 May;23(5):268-75. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.02.004. Epub 2008 Apr 2.

The eukaryotic tree of life: endosymbiosis takes its TOL.

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The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Integrated Microbial Biodiversity Program, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.


Resolving the structure of the eukaryotic tree of life remains one of the most important and challenging tasks facing biologists. The notion of six eukaryotic 'supergroups' has recently gained some acceptance, and several papers in 2007 suggest that resolution of higher taxonomic levels is possible. However, in organisms that acquired photosynthesis via secondary (i.e. eukaryote-eukaryote) endosymbiosis, the host nuclear genome is a mosaic of genes derived from two (or more) nuclei, a fact that is often overlooked in studies attempting to reconstruct the deep evolutionary history of eukaryotes. Accurate identification of gene transfers and replacements involving eukaryotic donor and recipient genomes represents a potentially formidable challenge for the phylogenomics community as more protist genomes are sequenced and concatenated data sets grow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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