Reconstructing the Universal Tree and Network of Life (2015–2020)

A grand challenge in biology today is to reconstruct the complete evolutionary history of life on Earth. A major hurdle to this goal is the inability to culture most microbial species which comprise the bulk of evolutionary diversity. This project will obtain 100,000 genome sequences using ground-breaking techniques, and systematically organise this uncultured ¿microbial dark matter¿ into natural phylogenetic relationships comprising both vertical inheritance and lateral transfers. This framework will be used to replace the current highly flawed and incomplete classification of microorganisms. The systematic exploration and organisation of microbial dark matter is timely and will provide fundamental insights into ecology and evolution.
Grant type:
ARC Australian Laureate Fellowships
  • ARC Australian Laureate Fellow
    School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
    Faculty of Science
    Affiliate Professor
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
    Faculty of Medicine
Funded by:
Australian Research Council