The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the authors and the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The contents of the review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. The task group thanks reviewers John Battista (Louisiana State University), Russell Doolittle (University of California, San Diego), John Kerridge (University of California, San Diego, retired), Krishan Khurana (University of California, Los Angeles), Leslie Orgel (Salk Institute for Biological Studies), Robert Pappalardo (Brown University), and M. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell (Stanford University) for their many constructive comments and suggestions. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests solely with the authoring task group and the NRC.

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