The tree of eukaryotes

Trends Ecol Evol. 2005 Dec;20(12):670-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.09.005. Epub 2005 Oct 10.


Recent advances in resolving the tree of eukaryotes are converging on a model composed of a few large hypothetical 'supergroups', each comprising a diversity of primarily microbial eukaryotes (protists, or protozoa and algae). The process of resolving the tree involves the synthesis of many kinds of data, including single-gene trees, multigene analyses, and other kinds of molecular and structural characters. Here, we review the recent progress in assembling the tree of eukaryotes, describing the major evidence for each supergroup, and where gaps in our knowledge remain. We also consider other factors emerging from phylogenetic analyses and comparative genomics, in particular lateral gene transfer, and whether such factors confound our understanding of the eukaryotic tree.