All news and blogs
Thistle the deer may be gone, but her legacy to science lives on
The long-lived red deer will become "genomotype" for her species, while researchers hope her longevity can help answer questions about ageing and age-related disease.
From pondwater to single cells: 5 tricks for finding protists in the lab
Having transported many litres of pondwater to the lab, here's how our scientists find and isolate the single-celled organisms we want from all the other lifeforms and debris in their water samples.
From wolf to dog: Digging into the genome of Canis lupus familiaris
Dogs, descended from wolves, were the first animals domesticated by humans, some 40,000 years ago. Our wolf genome is now helping researchers unravel the evolutionary past of our canine companions.
The 12 Days of Christmas at Darwin Tree of Life
The traditional "12 Days of Christmas" reimagined with the huge variety of species having their genomes sequenced by the Darwin Tree of Life project.
Thistle the red deer: Abandoned exile, TV star, reference genome
The ‘celebrity’ hind that provided blood samples for our genome sequence hails from a historic research project on Rum, has starred in TV films, wowed school children, and sometimes sleeps on a bed.
Pearl-bordered fritillary: At risk butterfly lays foundations for her species’ recovery
A female butterfly has not only provided her eggs for reintroduction efforts in the Malvern Hills, but will also become the reference genome for her species - aiding conservation across Britain.
Darwin Tree of Life in 2021: Tireless fieldwork and the first beautiful genomes
After pandemic setbacks in 2020, this year saw thousands of samples collected, over 200 genomes assembled, and DToL's first Genome Notes published. We’re ready for 2022!
Majestic marine worms under the microscope
Among the coastal creatures collected by the Marine Biological Association for the Darwin Tree of Life project are a staggering variety of marine worms. We get the close up on 14 fascinating species.
Priest Pot: A seldom-studied protist paradise
Scientists hadn’t surveyed the microscopic creatures in this cut-off Cumbrian pond for a decade. DToL plunged in to sample its genomic riches.
Where wolves: Can genomics help bring back Britain’s lost apex predator?
Wolves were eradicated from Britain around 300 years ago, leaving a hole in our ecosystem. How might new high-quality genomes help bring back this and other missing species?
Snail hunting in the dark sea caves of Wales
Guided by intrepid snail experts, the DToL team at the Marine Biological Association ventured into Pembrokeshire’s sea caves, collecting - and even naming - several tiny marine species.
Halloween genomes: 5 spooky species newly sequenced
Forget the folklore, never mind the movies. Decoding the DNA of these species can transform our view of them from horror tropes to essential parts of our ecosystem.
Barcoding the Broads: explore the biodiversity on your doorstep
The Earlham Institute launches its first in-person DNA barcoding training, to help connect people to Norfolk’s nature, and give local naturalists new tools to identify the organisms they study.
Warts and all: The differences between frogs and toads
Darwin Tree of Life has sequenced the genomes for the common frog (Rana temporaria) and common toad (Bufo bufo). But what do “frog” and “toad” mean in an evolutionary and genomic sense?
Lineus longissimus: Marine medicines from the ribbon worm
The world's longest animal, and very slimy - researchers hope that the genomes of these worms will help uncover new chemical compounds.
Blazing the apple trail in Edinburgh
The secrets of apple evolution were revealed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's Harvest Festival - plus our work sequencing genomes of the wild crabapple and its domestic descendants.
Remembering Douglas Boyes
An expert in moth identification and ecology, Doug’s knowledge, energy and generosity will be missed by us all greatly.
Eimeria: The chicken parasite costing farmers billions
By sequencing the genome of this single-celled coccidian parasite, scientists hope to develop better vaccines to protect poultry from a disease causing severe diarrhoea and death.
Large Tortoiseshell: The mystery of Britain’s reappearing butterfly
Having disappeared in the 1950s, this large lepidopteran is back and breeding on UK shores - but we don’t know why. Might its newly sequenced genome provide some clues?
School Fly Trap: Students find world's smallest wasp in their playground
The children were extremely excited to open their malaise traps and find several hundred flying insects, representing at least 100 species.
Biodiversity Genomics 2021: sequencing genomes across the planet
The second annual Biodiversity Genomics meeting (Sep 27-Oct 1) will connect scientists from the tundra to the tropics, all focused on unlocking the genomic secrets of life on Earth
European Turtle Dove Genome Note
The genome note for the European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
How one DToL scientist raised four robin chicks
The pressures of managing deliveries of organism samples to the Sanger Institute didn't prepare Radka Platte for avian motherhood.
Sequencing the earthworms of Wytham Woods
What is it like collecting specimens in the field for DToL? Earthworm specialist Keiron Derek Brown describes his experience and the results of a trip to Wytham Woods.
European Robin Genome Note
The genome note for the European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
Ringlet Genome Note
The genome note for the Ringlet butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
European Water Vole Genome Note
The genome note for the European Water Vole (Arvicola amphibius) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
A Living Treasure of Protist Diversity
CCAP, based near Oban, is helping DToL collect and isolate different strains of algae and protozoa. But most of team's time is taken up maintaining the 3000-plus strains kept in their public collection
New Tree of Life Gateway launches
As well as announcing available practices and data, and crediting participants, this Gateway aims to show that open data sharing is possible and essential for large-scale projects like DToL to succeed
Norway Rat Genome Note
The genome note for the Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
Golden Eagle Genome Note
The genome note for the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
Common Pipistrelle Genome Note
The genome note for the Common Pipistrelle Bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
Brown Trout Genome Note
The genome note for the brown trout (Salmo trutta) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
Release of full bee genome sequences creates a buzz
Full genome sequences for three of the bumblebee species found in Britain and Ireland
Successful full genome sequencing of three bumblebee species
The Darwin Tree of Life team are delighted to announce the release of three complete bumblebee genomes this week.
Lichens have a certain reputation…
Many find lichens ‘difficult’. Rebecca Yahr, at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, prefers the term ‘fascinating’, perhaps because she still gets to answer seemingly basic questions with “I don’t know!”
Darwin Tree of Life: looking back on 2020
Despite restrictions, 2020 has been a busy year for the Darwin Tree of Life Project. We take a look at some of this year’s achievements and highlights.
The Weird and Wonderful World of Protists: an interview…
Dr Sally Warring’s first few months at Earlham Institute have been a little out of the ordinary – especially after arriving in the UK from New York in the midst of an accelerating global pandemic. But for someone who studies an unusual group of organisms called protists, extraordinary is the norm.
All Things Fun-GAL
Fungi are some of the least known and mysterious organisms on Earth.
International Day of Biodiversity
Biodiversity is at the core of the Darwin Tree of Life (DToL) project, and today (May 22nd) marks the Convention on Biological Diversity’s International Day of Biodiversity.
Being a Bryophyte GAL
Being a part of the Darwin Tree of Life project, genome sequencing the multicellular organisms of an entire island archipelago, has involved a major shift in the way we think and talk about the plants that we work on
The Darwin Tree of Life Project and the COVID-19…
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health measures mean that all of the institutions that are partners in the Darwin Tree of Life project have closed their physical doors, with staff working from home.
A Moth in the Tree of Life at Sanger
The life of a sample at the Tree of Life labs at the Wellcome Sanger Institute starts with an email forewarning us
Eurasian River Otter Genome Note
The genome note for the Eurasian River Otter (Lutra lutra) is now available
Grey Squirrel Genome Note
The genome note for the Eastern Grey Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is now available on Wellcome Open Research
Wytham Woods: the genomics of ecology and evolution
By January 2020, just a few months into the Darwin Tree of Life project, we had sent specimens of 221 arthropod species to the Sanger Institute.