What are phylogenetic trees and cladograms?

1 Answer
Dec 6, 2016

Scientists use phylogenetic trees and cladograms to study the relationships between organisms, as well as evolutionary relationships for organisms with a common ancestor.


A phylogenetic tree or evolutionary tree is a branching diagram or 'tree' , showing the inferred evolutionary relationships amongst various biological species.
The taxa joined joined together in the tree are implied to have descended from a common ancestor. The tips of the tree can be living organisms or fossils and represent the end or the present in an evolutionary lineage.
Phylogenetic analyses have become central to understanding biodiversity, evolution ,ecology and genomes.

Cladograms are diagrams used in cladistics to show a line of organisms and how closely related they are to each other.
Traditionally , cladograms are largely based on morphological characters. DNA and RNA sequencing data and computational phylogenetics are now very commonly used in the generation of cladograms.