Welcome to PhotobiontDiversity

As with most organisms, DNA sequencing has revolutionised our understanding of the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships of lichen photobionts over the last two decades. However, unlike most organisms, these insights have rarely been translated to formal taxonomic changes and thus, no comprehensive system exists to organize the diversity that has been uncovered. Studies focus on different taxonomic scales, sequence different markers and use different analyses. Even when the methods are consistent, comparisons are rarely made to all related sequences in the database. Studies that do attempt a comprehensive analysis, such as this one are hopelessly out of date by the time they are published.

The goal of this blog is to provide a real-time snapshot of the current state of knowledge of genetic diversity in lichen photobionts and related organisms. Over the coming weeks, I will be populating a repository with as many photobiont DNA sequences as possible, along with associated metadata. I will post phylogenies derived from the sequences here and provide commentary as appropriate. I will be updating the phylogenies as new data become available and highlighting interesting findings from the associated studies.

Stay tuned…


About heathobrien

I am a genome scientist based in Bristol, England. I am currently studying the genetic basis of neuropsychiatric disorders, but I have also done research on iridescent plants, plant pathogens and lichens. I have continued my work on lichen-associated algae and cyanobacteria for my blog
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