Illustrating the evolution of bacterial shape and motility

We recently showed that shape and motility have evolved independently in Firmicutes bacteria. Here is an example of how this idea could be illustrated by an artist (Abdelkebir El Baidouri).

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Pointillist-like impression of a phylogeny representing independent evolution of shape and motility in Firmicutes bacteria. The coccoid (red) and rod (blue) morphologies are presents on the branch tips and flagellar motility is distributed independently from cell morphology. At the base of the tree a flagellated rod represents the probable ancestor of this group of bacteria.

Illustration by Abdelkebir El Baidouri

For the paper: 'Independent evolution of shape and motility allows evolutionary flexibility in Firmicutes bacteria'. Fouad El Baidouri et al. Nature Ecology & Evolution (2016). DOI: 10.1038/s41559-016-0009

Fouad El Baidouri

Postdoc, University of Lincoln