I need to draw simple, phylogenetic tree for kids lecture.

I am looking for an online tool where I can enter organisms (e.g., human, wasp, fungus) and get figure of a phylogenetic tree. Tree should be based on how close those organisms are (I don't need genome alignments).

Similar figure producing tool would be perfect. ## Heading ##

  • $\begingroup$ Just download an existing diagram.. To make a tree you would need to put in reference sequences. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 6 '14 at 11:41
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    $\begingroup$ Have a look at this Website. It might be helpful. $\endgroup$ – Chris May 6 '14 at 11:49
  • $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG where can I do so? $\endgroup$ – SEwontLetMeDeleteProfile May 6 '14 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ You can find images of trees by google search.. but if you want to make a tree yourself you would need some reference sequence. Entire genome is not used for that but some sequences such as 18s rRNA are frequently used. Doing an alignment is inevitable, but the algorithms (such as clustalW) do it under the hood. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 6 '14 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ you can use itol.embl.de to get trees based on the NCBI taxonomy, but you'd have to use a graphic program to make them prettier $\endgroup$ – Michael Kuhn May 6 '14 at 13:17

As per your requirements I will suggest:



I don't know what background you have given the kids or what level, but here's something we do in a non-majors freshman level biology course that could easily be adjusted. First, to get them thinking about trees and relationships, give them a simple family genealogy (use only 1 parent for simplicity). I use my family tree going back to my grandmother. With cousins, aunts, and siblings, they begin to understand how to interpret family trees. You can substitute the family names with organism names to make it a basic phylogenetic tree.

We teach tree construction simply. We give students a list of six species (fake birds) with DNA sequences that are only 20 nucleotides long. Students have to calculate the number of base pair differences between each pair of sequences which, in our case, range from 2-10 nucleotides.

They then use the pairwise differences to construct their tree, with the understanding that fewer nucleotide differences between organisms means they are more closely related.

You can do this type of activity over a couple of days (depending on time). Then, you can begin to show them trees that become gradually more complex. Because the kids will have constructed a tree and now how it is constructed, they will have a much easier time interpreting larger trees.


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