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© Research
Publication : BMC ecology and evolution

A divide-and-conquer phylogenomic approach based on character supermatrices resolves early steps in the evolution of the Archaea.

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in BMC ecology and evolution - 05 Jan 2022

Aouad M, Flandrois JP, Jauffrit F, Gouy M, Gribaldo S, Brochier-Armanet C,

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34986784

Link to DOI – 10.1186/s12862-021-01952-0

BMC Ecol Evol 2022 01; 22(1): 1

The recent rise in cultivation-independent genome sequencing has provided key material to explore uncharted branches of the Tree of Life. This has been particularly spectacular concerning the Archaea, projecting them at the center stage as prominently relevant to understand early stages in evolution and the emergence of fundamental metabolisms as well as the origin of eukaryotes. Yet, resolving deep divergences remains a challenging task due to well-known tree-reconstruction artefacts and biases in extracting robust ancient phylogenetic signal, notably when analyzing data sets including the three Domains of Life. Among the various strategies aimed at mitigating these problems, divide-and-conquer approaches remain poorly explored, and have been primarily based on reconciliation among single gene trees which however notoriously lack ancient phylogenetic signal.We analyzed sub-sets of full supermatrices covering the whole Tree of Life with specific taxonomic sampling to robustly resolve different parts of the archaeal phylogeny in light of their current diversity. Our results strongly support the existence and early emergence of two main clades, Cluster I and Cluster II, which we name Ouranosarchaea and Gaiarchaea, and we clarify the placement of important novel archaeal lineages within these two clades. However, the monophyly and branching of the fast evolving nanosized DPANN members remains unclear and worth of further study.We inferred a well resolved rooted phylogeny of the Archaea that includes all recently described phyla of high taxonomic rank. This phylogeny represents a valuable reference to study the evolutionary events associated to the early steps of the diversification of the archaeal domain. Beyond the specifics of archaeal phylogeny, our results demonstrate the power of divide-and-conquer approaches to resolve deep phylogenetic relationships, which should be applied to progressively resolve the entire Tree of Life.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34986784