Small adder's-tongue fern: A small plant with a big genome
The team from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh couldn’t miss the opportunity to collect the rare Ophioglossum azoricum, taking a trip to the remote Isle of Raasay.
Expert local knowledge helps in the hunt for Britain’s rarest plants
The Lizard in Cornwall is home to some of Britain’s rarest plants. But where do they grow? Darwin Tree of Life got in touch with the local experts.
Little Sparta: From a single tree to a BioBlitz
Darwin Tree of Life, ‘citizen scientists’ and pupils with a predilection for pondlife came together to sample the biodiversity at a Scottish site where nature has returned in force.
Wych elm vs. Dutch elm disease: Giants, genomes and true grit in the Scottish Borders
Dutch elm disease has ravaged our native trees since the 1980s. By studying the genomes of the survivors, we may begin to understand resilience to the fungal pathogen. And you can get involved!
Discover the Darwin Tree of Life project at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition
Our landmark project to sequence the genomes of all 70,000 species of eukaryotic organisms in Britain and Ireland will be on show this summer at one of the largest free science festivals in the UK.
Understanding our fish, keeping our seas sustainable
Genomics is giving researchers and industry a fine-grain picture of which fish swim in our waters, and where. This knowledge helps avoid the overfishing disasters of the past.
100 genomes annotated: EMBL-EBI reaches major milestone
EMBL-EBI's researchers highlight their contributions to the Darwin Tree of Life project and how new genome annotations help to further biodiversity research.
Chicken of the Woods: Our first fungus genome
Our first fungus genome will help us understand this key ecosystem engineer, its boost to biodiversity, and potential for new medicines and chemical compounds to protect our future.
Sequencing all life, explained in numbers
What does it mean to sequence the genomes of all life in Britain and Ireland? Perhaps breaking it down by numbers can help explain!
How bioinformatics can crack the complex case of protist biodiversity
Protists have been excruciatingly difficult to study but, thanks to single-cell genomics and bioinformatics underway at the Earlham Institute, we’re finally decoding their abundant biodiversity.
Genomes great and small: The diversity of plants
DToL scientists discuss plans to sequence the DNA of every plant species in Britain and Ireland, the diversity of plant genomes and the importance of plant science in the face of global challenges.
Parasitoid wasps: Indispensable insects you never think about… or never want to!
Eating caterpillars from the inside, paralysing spiders… and pollinating! Parasitoid wasps are a diverse and massive group of insects, and we’ve just sequenced our first genome of one.
9 species our scientists are excited about sequencing in 2022
Before a new season of collecting begins in spring, our field teams reflect on some of the fascinating species sent for genome sequencing last year which they are particularly excited to study.
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.
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
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.
Ringlet butterfly and our project's youngest collector
The genome note for the Ringlet butterfly (Aphantopus hyperantus) 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
We’re excited to announce that the Tree of Life Gateway has now been launched on Wellcome Open Research. Jonathan Threlfall and Mark Blaxter wrote an article on the Wellcome Open Research blog to mark the occasion.
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
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