TimeTree: A Resource for Timelines, Timetrees, and Divergence Times

Mol Biol Evol. 2017 Jul 1;34(7):1812-1819. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msx116.


Evolutionary information on species divergence times is fundamental to studies of biodiversity, development, and disease. Molecular dating has enhanced our understanding of the temporal patterns of species divergences over the last five decades, and the number of studies is increasing quickly due to an exponential growth in the available collection of molecular sequences from diverse species and large number of genes. Our TimeTree resource is a public knowledge-base with the primary focus to make available all species divergence times derived using molecular sequence data to scientists, educators, and the general public in a consistent and accessible format. Here, we report a major expansion of the TimeTree resource, which more than triples the number of species (>97,000) and more than triples the number of studies assembled (>3,000). Furthermore, scientists can access not only the divergence time between two species or higher taxa, but also a timetree of a group of species and a timeline that traces a species' evolution through time. The new timetree and timeline visualizations are integrated with display of events on earth and environmental history over geological time, which will lead to broader and better understanding of the interplay of the change in the biosphere with the diversity of species on Earth. The next generation TimeTree resource is publicly available online at http://www.timetree.org.

Keywords: database; divergence time; software; timetree.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity
  • Biological Evolution
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA / methods*
  • Software
  • Species Specificity