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Select the Question mark to the left of each question for the answer.
How is it that Desert Research Institute scientists are working in the ocean in Antarctica?
Why do you need to travel all the way to Antarctica to study Archaeal gene expression?
How do you get from Reno to Palmer Station?
What are the best genetic tools to measure changes in gene expression?
What can gene expression in archaea and bacteria teach us that can lead to great new discoveries?
What is the Tree of Life?

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What is the Tree of Life? What is the Tree of Life? The tree of life is a graphical representation of the evolutionary relationship (phylogenetic relationships) between all forms of life that we know to exist on earth. Knowing an organism's phylogeny helps us understand how related one organism is to another. The Tree of Life gives us a visual image of organism relatedness, by depicting a variety of organisms whose position in the tree corresponds to their relatedness to other organisms within the tree. As on a road map, the fewer turns you make, and the less distance you need to travel, the closer you are to your destination. This is the case for organisms on the Tree of Life, as well. For instance, Giardia is located near the center of the tree (just below the label "0.1 changes per site"). The archaeon Methanopyrus is also located very close to the axis of the tree. By their relative positions, we can deduce that Methanopyrus and Giardia are closer relatives than the Flavobacterium (located near the very end of the Bacterial "road") and Cryptomonas (located near the end of the Eucarya "road"). The Tree of Life Web Project is an interesting site that discusses of the nuances of determining phylogeny.

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