Phylogenetic Analysis of DNA Sequences

Phylogenetic Analysis of DNA Sequences

Phylogenetic Analysis of DNA Sequences

Phylogenetic Analysis of DNA Sequences

Synopsis

With increasing frequency, systematic and evolutionary biologists have turned to the techniques of molecular biology to complement their traditional morphological and anatomical approaches to questions of historical relationship and descent among groups of animals and plants. In particular, the comparative analysis of DNA sequences is becoming a common and important focus of research attention today. This volume surveys the emerging field of molecular systematics of DNA sequences by focusing on the following topics: DNA sequence data acquisition; phylogenetic inference; congruence and consensus problems; limitations of molecular data; and integration of molecular and morphological data sets. The volume takes its inspiration from a major symposium sponsored by the American Society of Zoologists and the Society of Systematic Zoology in December, 1989.

Excerpt

The comparative analysis of dna sequences is becoming increasingly important in systematic and evolutionary biology and will continue to do so as faster and more efficient methods for collecting these data are developed. Large amounts of comparative sequence data will be required to answer most molecular systematic questions, but this labor-intensive effort will only be the first of several problems faced by the systematist. Although the use of dna sequences in systematics is still in its infancy, already a healthy mixture of opinion exists about the most appropriate methods for reconstructing phylogenetic history from nucleotide data. Moreover, some question whether dna sequences will prove to be more informative in all cases when compared to more traditional data-bases. Thus, in using dna sequences comparatively, the biologist is confronted by staggering complexities that are often not appreciated even by the expert systematist or molecular evolutionist.

This volume has assembled an internationally recognized group of investigators representing different theoretical viewpoints and disciplines to address critically a diversity of questions about dna systematics. the book begins with an introduction by Miyamoto and Cracraft, followed by 14 additional chapters emphasizing data acquisition, sequence analysis, and the broader systematic importance of nucleotide information. Contributors on data acquisition have focused on improved techniques for obtaining comparative sequence information by manual (Slightom et al.) and automated (Ferl et al.) approaches. With regard to data analysis, authors have concentrated on methodological problems dealing with sequence alignment (Waterman et al. and Mindell) and different tree-building algorithms (Nei, Sidow and Wilson,Fitch and Ye, and Penny et al.). Finally, contributors have focused on more general issues having broad implications within systematics. Specifically, their chapters have concentrated on the evaluation of phylogenetic reliability and information content of different sequences and data sets (Cracraft and Helm-Bychowski,Li and Gouy, and Hillis), on the relationship between molecular evolutionary bias and phylogeny reconstruction (Larson), and on the application of consensus and congruence approaches in systematics (Swofford and Wheeler).

This book has its roots in the symposium "Recent Advances in Phylogenetic Studies of dna Sequences," which was part of the special cen-

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