PerspectiveEvolution

The Animal Tree of Life

Science  15 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6121, pp. 764-766
DOI: 10.1126/science.1234378

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Summary

In a letter to T. H. Huxley written on 26 September 1857, Charles Darwin imagined a time to come "though I shall not live to see it, when we shall have very fairly true genealogical trees of each great kingdom of nature" (1). The publication of On the Origin of Species, two years later, prompted a century and a half of disagreement among zoologists proposing often wildly contradictory schemes of animal evolution. Clarity began to emerge with Field et al.'s landmark publication 25 years ago of an analysis of animal relationships based on ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequences (2). The paper made zoologists realize that molecular biology could and should be applied to traditional zoological questions.