More on the 'cladistics' of sequences

B.J.Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Tue Jun 15 08:07:35 CDT 2004

I do not want to take credit for a concept or definition which should be
credited to others. So for completeness the original definition of phemetic
(which seems to encompass theory, philosophy, and methodology) is:

Phenetics as originally applied, by Cain and Harrison (1960), refers to the
"arrangement by overall similarity, based on all available characters
without any weighting ...since it employs all observable characters
(including of course genetic data when available)". 

Cain, A. J., Harrison, G.A. (1960) Phyletic weighting. Proceedings of the
Zoological Society of London 131: 1-31

However, Harrison recognised fairly soon after the publication of the
formal definition that phenetic was being confused with phenotypic (see
Heywood & McNiell, 1964, p. 161).

"Because I feel that the term is still being misinterpreted I would like to
refer again to the definition of phenetic. I agree completely with Dr.
Walters that it meams 'natural' in Gilmour's sense. We felt that we had to
change the name because when we used 'natural' in our first paper it was
widely misunderstood to mean phylogenetic. I realise now that we possibly
made an unfortunate choice because the contrast phenotyic-genotypic
suggests phenetic-genetic, whereas the real comparison is, as the title of
the Smyposium suggests, between phenetic and phylogenetic (phyletic). There
is, in fact, no contrast at all at the phenetic-genetic level because
phenetic covers data from every source of evidence, whether it be
morphological, embryological, cytological, genetic or anything else."
Heywood, V.H. and McNiell, J (1964) Phenetic and phylogenetic
classification. Systematics Association Publication 6, The Systematics
Association, London

....and for Ken, as far as I can tell the term clade was used in:

Huxley, J. S. (1959) Grades and clades. In Function and taxonomic
importance, Cain, A.J. (ed) pp.21-22 Systematics Association Publication 2.
Oxford University Press

Interesting to see "grades" popping up in other e-mails.


At 17:23 14.6.2004 +0200, pierre deleporte wrote:
>A 10:09 14/06/2004 +0100, David Williams wrote(two times):
>>"all numerical methods
>>are all inherently phenetic (because of the matrix and thus not
>>phylogenetic) "
>As this thread seemed to have enlighted, particularly with Tindall's nice 
>post about calssic definitions, there is no "phenetic character".
>I wonder how one can have a "phenetic data matrix".
>>Let's try and move on.
>We very certainly won't be able to move on (together) if we have such deep 
>disagreement about what the words we use mean.
>My definition of "phenetic" is Tindall's one : it qualifies a way of 
>treating the data, i.e. grouping on the basis of overall similarity between 
>taxa. Thus, an analysis cannot be phenetic "because of the data matrix".
>Definitions matter for real debate.
>Pierre Deleporte
>CNRS UMR 6552 - Station Biologique de Paimpont
>F-35380 Paimpont   FRANCE
>Téléphone : 02 99 61 81 66
>Télécopie : 02 99 61 81 88

* Dr.B.J.Tindall      E-MAIL bti at                           *          
* DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH *
* Mascheroder Weg 1b, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany                *
* Tel.: ++ 531 2616 0 (general)                                    *
* Tel.: ++ 531 2616 224 (direct)                                   *
* Fax:  ++ 531 2616 418                                            *
*                                                                  *
* Homepage:                          *
* E-MAIL: contact at (general enquiries)                      *
*         sales at (sales)                                    *

More information about the Taxacom mailing list