A Tree of Life

Phylogenetic Tree

Phylogenetic Tree

Phylogenetic Blossom

Phylogenetic Blossom

Phylogenetic Blossom

Phylogenetic Blossom

Phylogenetic Blossom

Phylogenetic Blossom

A painting of a tree made entirely from living bacteria. In the simplest sense, it is an illustration of a tree made of life, but it is also far more than this. Perhaps it is a phylogenetic tree whose branches depict the lines of evolutionary descent of different species. If it is, being made from bacteria, it is painted using the very life forms whose 16S RNA sequences, make such an evolutionary plot possible, and whose DNA signatures are still embedded, like genetic fossils, in all living things. The tree has also blossomed, and again its striking flowers are a visible manifestation of complex evolutionary processes, of mutation, natural selection, and genetic exchange. I can’t help but think that Charles Darwin would have been intrigued had he been alive to see this.

4 thoughts on “A Tree of Life

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