chloroplast and other genes (was Lucy in Newsweek)

Richard Pyle deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG
Tue Apr 6 09:19:11 CDT 2004

> In contrast to Rich's comments I am
> not convinved that faster computers are the solution.
> We need to look at things from a biological point of view,
> which often means
> parallel thinking as well as linking the relevant data sets (genes, gene
> proteins, biochemical pathways, and morphology etc.).

Not much contrast, really.  I see access to computers with a million-fold
increase in processing power as no more "the solution" than simply having
the complete genomes for all known species (I was trying to use that example
to underscore the idea of a paradigm shift, contrasted with doing what we do
now but with more base pairs).  The key to "the solution" is truly
*understanding* the information contained within the genomes; that is, the
algorithms that process genomic information (which will need to be based on
a robust understanding of genes, gene expression, proteins, biochemical
pathways, and morphology etc.; as you list below).

I've been thinking about this issue a bit lately (obviously), and have a
question to this list:

Other than temporal and spatial evidence (i.e., historical biogeography &
the fossil record), is there *any* form of phylogenetically informative
evidence that is not, in some form or another, burried within the genome?
For example, could memes represent a meaningful line of evidence used for
inferring phylogenies?

> Lots of things to do, but not enough time to do it all!!

Methinks we're all in full agreement on that one!


Richard L. Pyle, PhD
Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
email: deepreef at

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