Got asked on Twitter about this paper:
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Abstract | Giant viruses coexisted with the cellular ancestors and represent a distinct supergroup along with superkingdoms Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya
Hmm... @carlzimmer @phylogenomics? Weigh in?RT @diana_yates_: Study of giant viruses shakes up the tree of life:bit.ly/NqLX2uI answered briefly
— Ed Yong(@edyong209) September 13, 2012
@edyong209 @carlzimmer @diana_yates_ very unconvincing; no taxa in trees; no evidence FSF useful marker; Fig 3 strange; data not released ..Don't have time for a detailed blog post but here are some quick comments:
— Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics) September 13, 2012
1. Giant viruses are fascinating and cool
2. I have done work connected to the topic of this paper and thus might not be considered fully objective. For example see
- Stalking the Fourth Domain in Metagenomic Data: Searching for ...
- The challenge of microbial diversity: Out on a limb : Nature News
- Glimpses of the Fourth Domain? | The Loom | Discover Magazine
- The Tree of Life: The story behind the story of my new #PLoSOne ...
UPDATE 9/19 - some prior stories about the "fourth domain" and ancient viruses - to counter notion in the press release for this paper that their findings "shake up the tree of life". Even if their specific inferences about viral evolution are correct, such inferences / conclusions have been made before.
- The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells
- Viruses take center stage in cellular evolution
- Redefining viruses: lessons from Mimivirus
- Structural co-evolution of viruses and cells in the primordial world
- The 1.2-megabase genome sequence of Mimivirus
- The Science Breakthroughs That 2011 May Bring - FoxNews.com
- A new domain of life: Plenty more bugs in the sea | The...
- Did DNA Come From Viruses?
- Megavirus May Be Stripped-Down Version of Normal Cell |...
- The Birth of the Nucleus | Science/AAAS