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Phylogenomics is a field that deals with the analysis of family trees using sequenced genomes . The methods of phylogenetics are applied to genomes, partly also to DNA generated from transcriptomes by reverse transcription .


Phylogenomics is used to predict the function of an unknown protein on the basis of similar proteins with known functions by comparing the DNA sequences . Furthermore, she investigates lineages and relationships, the occurrence of horizontal gene transfers and the evolutionary development of gene families and the resulting protein families within a species .

The analysis is carried out using bioinformatic methods because of the comparatively large data sets to be compared . The analysis of many genes improves the test strength . The methods can be divided into five groups, based on different genes, based on the content of the gene, based on the arrangement of genes, K-string based and based on metabolic pathways . While most methods are based on an assignment of homologous sequence sections ( sequence alignment ), which becomes more and more complex with increasing length and with decreasing relationship of the sequences and ultimately becomes impossible for the comparison of entire genomes, the K-string method is assignment-free; Later on, a number of other methods without alignment were developed, some of which require less computing power. Depending on the selected calculation method, different family trees can occasionally be created from the same data set.

In the analyzes, there are various basic assumptions such as the preservation of sequences over time, the equivalence of the methods in pedigrees and the evolution of gene or protein families, simple nucleated cells as the origin of all life and the horizontal gene transfer as the cause of incongruities in various analyzes Genes (including the formation of endosymbionts ).

Based on phylogenomic analyzes, the origin of cellular life forms was estimated to be around 2.9 billion years ago. Almost all photosynthetic eukaryotes share a common ancestor.

Phylogenomic methods are e.g. B. the genome sequencing , the sequencing of the rDNA , the multilocus sequence typing and the multilocus sequence analysis . Evolutionary lineages are recorded in the PhylomeDB database .


The term phylogenomics was coined in 1997 by Jonathan Eisen and originally only included the prediction of the function of a protein based on the similarities of DNA sequences. In 1998 he worked out the methodology for this. The formation of protein families was described by Emile Zuckerkandl and Linus Pauling in 1965 , about 35 years before the first sequenced genomes. The use of genomes to create evolutionary pedigrees as part of phylogenomics began in the early 2000s and was first fully described in 2005.


  • Rob DeSalle: Phylogenomics. Garland Science, 2012, ISBN 978-1-135-03871-7 .
  • William J. Murphy: Phylogenomics. Humana Press, 2008, ISBN 978-1-58829-764-8 .
  • Marco Fondi: Bioinformatics of Genome Evolution: from Ancestral to Modern Metabolism Phylogenomics and Comparative Genomics to Understand Microbial Evolution. Firenze University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-88-6655-043-3 .
  • A. Som: Causes, consequences and solutions of phylogenetic incongruence. In: Briefings in bioinformatics. Volume 16, Number 3, May 2015, pp. 536-548, doi: 10.1093 / bib / bbu015 . PMID 24872401 .

Individual evidence

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