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Molecular systematics - is it all rubbish?

Eirikur Sigurdsson eiriksig at rhi.hi.is
Wed Jun 14 09:13:33 EST 1995

In <3rldgd$f10 at studium.student.umu.se> Agneta Guillemot 
<Agneta.Guillemot at historia.umu.se> writes:  
>There is only one school of systematics whose theorethical basis 
>is untouchable. It is of course cladistics. If you apply cladistic 
>methodology to sequence data you come to the right, unquestionable 
>conclusions. Most molecular systematicists seem to ignore cladistics. 
>I hope this will change.

I can't see how it is possible to say that molecular systemticists ignore
cladistics.  I think cladism is usually the heart of molecular systemticists. 
Or what is parsimony if not pure cladism?  Never the less I think people some-
times overestimate the power of molecular methods.  To use it and to draw
conclusions from it you have to know were the pitholes are.  And one of them
is surely different rate of evolution between species and between genes.  But
there are ways to avoid these pitfalls and surely the "molecular clock" is a
usefull concept.

Eirikur Sigurdsson		"Saying the word progress in the company of
Institute of Biology		 serously thinking evolutionary biologists
University of Iceland 		 is like saying fuck at the vicars tea party"

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