SILVA94

There is a new release (94) of the SILVA database of ribosomal DNA sequences. 23,133 Metazoans, 88,997 Eukaryotes and 606,879 SSU sequences in total.
I’m having a few problems installing ARB on a new machine but need to start exploring this phenomenal phylogenetic resource more closely. One thing I would love when browsing large trees purely for fun is to see pictures at the tips. I wonder if you could automatically grab taxon images, perhaps from Yahoo, maybe in a similar way to Rod Page’s iSpecies? A few problems with this I guess, but it ought to be quite achievable. It would certainly make the trees much more fun to non taxonomists. The “animal tree of life” paper in Nature that I mentioned in a previous post provokes many more positive comments from my colleagues when they see the tree than I have ever seen with other phylogenies. I suspect it is because the authors include nice drawings at the tips. This simple thing might turn out to be very important for accessibility and dissemination of systematic info.

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