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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

How stands the Tree of Life a century and a half after The Origin?

Maureen A O'Malley1 and Eugene V Koonin2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Philosophy, Quadrangle A14, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

2 National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD20894, USA

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Biology Direct 2011, 6:32  doi:10.1186/1745-6150-6-32

Published: 30 June 2011

Abstract

We examine the Tree of Life (TOL) as an evolutionary hypothesis and a heuristic. The original TOL hypothesis has failed but a new "statistical TOL hypothesis" is promising. The TOL heuristic usefully organizes data without positing fundamental evolutionary truth.

Reviewers

This article was reviewed by W. Ford Doolittle, Nicholas Galtier and Christophe Malaterre.