UF researchers have received an $800,000 National Science Foundation Grant to help build a roadmap of evolution. The project, an undertaking never before attempted, will attempt to combine all of the previous research on species evolution into one massive, open-access “tree of life” for all species on Earth.
“The project is ambitious—we plan to assemble a first draft tree of life for the 1.8 million named species,” says co-principal investigator Doug Soltis. “Nothing in this scale has ever been done. It is the biodiversity equivalent of the human genome project.”
The tree could help track the spread and origin of emerging diseases, creating agricultural products and controlling invasive species by helping to understand the relationships between organisms.