Rooting the archaebacterial tree: the pivotal role of Thermococcus celer in archaebacterial evolution

Syst Appl Microbiol. 1988;10:231-40. doi: 10.1016/s0723-2020(88)80007-9.


The sequence of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene from the archaebacterium Thermococcus celer shows the organism to be related to the methanogenic archaebacteria rather than to its phenotypic counterparts, the extremely thermophilic archaebacteria. This conclusion turns on the position of the root of the archaebacterial phylogenetic tree, however. The problems encountered in rooting this tree are analyzed in detail. Under conditions that suppress evolutionary noise both the parsimony and evolutionary distance methods yield a root location (using a number of eubacterial or eukaryotic outgroup sequences) that is consistent with that determined by an "internal rooting" method, based upon an (approximate) determination of relative evolutionary rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Archaea / classification*
  • Archaea / genetics
  • Bacteria
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Euryarchaeota / classification
  • Euryarchaeota / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Archaeal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA
  • Thermococcus / classification*
  • Thermococcus / genetics


  • RNA, Archaeal
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 23S