chloroplast and other genes (was Lucy in Newsweek)

Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG
Sat Apr 10 11:32:26 CDT 2004

Understanding the genome may not come from the pursuit of patterns of
evolution by either morphologists or molecularists, but from the analysis of
the process of evolution that occurs through time and through lineages.
Patterns versus process.

Such a study might reveal why morphology is sometimes at odds with molecular

How to do that? Characterize adaptive zones for morphological and molecular
traits through time? Full circle back to Simpson?

Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
Voice: 314-577-5180
Fax: 314-577-9595
Bryophyte Volumes of Flora of North America:
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-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Pyle [mailto:deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG]
Sent: Thursday, April 08, 2004 1:55 PM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] chloroplast and other genes (was Lucy in

> it remains possible - and to me probable - that much
> misinformation also exists there, in the form of homoplasious
> matches (parallel evolution).

Yes, of course -- that is a given.  That is why I have also maintained that
simply knowing the whole genome won't help us much.  The REAL missing
ingredient is the *understanding* of the genome -- which means the ability
to generate algorithms that recognize and take into account the homoplasy.
If it proves impossible to develop algorithms that can do this reliably,
then the "asymptote" will be that much lower (in other words, the
information will simply not be retrievable).  To whatever extent the
information exists in the genome (and this includes the information needed
to avoid being misled by misinformation), I am convinced that we will
eventually be able to extract that information (and filter the
misinformation).  The limitation will be in how much information about
phylogenies has been lost -- obliterated -- forever.

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