Field of Science

Tree of Roots

Flagellar roots, that is. Tree of phylogenetic roots would be another fun project though...

You know when you see a page full of diagrams and get overcome by this urge to map them onto some phylogeny just for the hell of it? Especially when your other option is to actually write up the results and discussion sections your supervisor's sort of waiting for? (wrote two whole paragraphs' worth today, so I can take the rest of the day off, right?) Anyway, here comes Sleigh 1988 BioSystems p279, modern phylogeny edition:

Phylogeny of Sleigh representations of flagellar root structures. Diagrams from Sleigh 1988 BioSystems; phylogeny based on A Tree of Eukaryotes v1.2 (complete references therein).

Sleigh came up with a way to represent the structure of flagellar root apparatuses in order to compare them between various groups. These diagrams are used today by people working with protist cytoskeletons, and are reportedly a pain in the ass to make (rather unkind on one's 3D imagination capabilities). The flagellar root was traditionally considered to be a reliable character for taxonomic work, although it seems to be rather dangerous in some cases, as morphological any traits often tend to be. The flagellar root apparatus is quite complicated, and very often is responsible for the organisation of the rest of the cell. An annoying thing about them is how little is often known about the biochemistry of the various root elements, as materials besides tubulin can be freely used. In fact, older literature is full of descriptions of various fibrillar systems that have yet to be followed up on with modern cell biology techniques.

Luckily, I somehow resisted the temptation to add other people's Sleigh diagrams onto the tree; hopefully won't succumb any time soon as I actually have real work to do. Hopefully fate won't take me to Simpson 2003 anytime soon...

Does anyone else find making diagrams quite...relaxing?

(Sunday Protist on its way...keep on getting distracted while looking stuff up for it)

SLEIGH, M. (1988). Flagellar root maps allow speculative comparisons of root patterns and of their ontogeny Biosystems, 21 (3-4), 277-282 DOI: 10.1016/0303-2647(88)90023-8

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