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Origins of life

Common ancestry put to the test

The question of whether or not all life on Earth has an ultimate common origin is a subtle one, complicated by the phenomenon of lateral gene transfer. It has now been tackled with a formal statistical analysis.

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Figure 1: Does extant life trace back to a common ancestor?


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Steel, M., Penny, D. Common ancestry put to the test. Nature 465, 168–169 (2010).

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