chloroplast and other genes (was Lucy in Newsweek)

Don.Colless at CSIRO.AU Don.Colless at CSIRO.AU
Thu Apr 8 19:03:07 CDT 2004

Despite Richard Pyle's passionate beliefs: e.g.,---
"But my contention has been, and is, that whatever the extent to which the
information exists at all, it exists in the genome", ---
it remains possible - and to me probable - that much misinformation also exists there, in the form of homoplasious matches (parallel evolution).

 It has been my experience that, in morphological data (, a minimum of some 15-20% of matches are homoplasious. A few molecular studies known to me (that provided the necessary data - which is not usual!)did little if at all better! Is there any reason to believe that using enormous numbers of codon matches is going to improve on those figures?

I was once persuaded to write a paper on "Information" in taxonomy. It convinced me that the concept is multifacetted, slippery, easily misused, and generally downright dangerous. Let's just stick to "data" (and, please, as a plural noun!)

Don Colless,
Div of Entomology, CSIRO,
GPO Box 1700,
Canberra. 2601.
Email: don.colless at
Tuz li munz est miens envirun

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