modern systematics and permanent specimens

Sun Jul 28 13:24:45 CDT 1996

Last spring I went to a talk about the isolation of genes involved
in floral development in Brasica.  Namely, broccoli and cauliflower.
Yes, the material was bought as needed at the local grocery store.
It apparently does not concern the researcher that neither broccoli
nor cauliflower are likely to be monophyletic.  Thus the pathway
being derived from this research is based on a composite of perhaps
many different mutations in many different genetic backgrounds.  So
why isn't the researcher concerned?  There is a crucial assumption
here:  that the genetic machinery of angiosperm floral development
is both ancient (hence ubiquitous) and highly conserved.  How many
plant systematists believe this assumption is true?

There's another question here:  what sort of voucher samples should
be kept for studies like this?

        Una Smith                       una.smith at

Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT  06520-8104

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