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Universal scaling in the branching of the Tree of Life

by E. Alejandro Herrada, Claudio J. Tessone, Konstantin Klemm, Víctor M. Eguíluz, Emilio Hernández-García, Carlos M. Duarte
PLoS ONE 3, e2757 (2008)
Output type: publication
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Understanding the patterns and processes of diversification of life in the planet is a key challenge of science. The Tree of Life represents such diversification processes through the evolutionary relationships among the different taxa, and can be extended down to intra-specific relationships.
Here we examine the topological properties of a large set of interspecific and intraspecific phylogenies and show that the branching patterns follow allometric rules conserved across the different levels in the Tree of Life, all significantly departing from those expected from the standard null models. The finding of non-random universal patterns of phylogenetic differentiation suggests that similar evolutionary forces drive diversification across the broad range of scales, from macro-evolutionary to micro-evolutionary processes, shaping the diversity of life on the planet.