Molecular taxonomy: on way out?

Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG
Mon Jul 25 11:59:00 CDT 2005

Evolutionary developmental biologist are only just starting to have
mechanistic explanations that are relevant to taxonomy/phylogenetics. Check
the Web for publications by Lynn Helena Caporale: she has a good grasp of
evo-devo theory that is based, sometimes tenuously, on genuine
experimentation, and points out that the generalization that evolution may
not operate via incremental steps is not a falsification of neo-Darwinian
theory, but is an extension of it. Now is the time for us taxonomists to
figure out the relevance of developmental genetics to taxonomy because, I'm
willing to bet, molecular genetics is easier to learn by us than taxonomy by
Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group, Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
Voice: 314-577-5180;  Fax: 314-577-9595
Bryophyte Volumes of Flora of North America:
Res Botanica:
Shipping address for UPS, etc.:
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110 USA

-----Original Message-----
From: Robin Leech [mailto:releech at TELUSPLANET.NET]
Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2005 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Molecular taxonomy: on way out?

If molecular biologists have a contribution to make to classification
schemes, and perhaps even to phylogenetic schemes, why oh why
cannot they work hand in glove with Darwinian biologists?  That is
the way it should have been.
Robin Leech

----- Original Message -----
From: "Les Watson" <leswatson at WESTNET.COM.AU>
Sent: Friday, July 22, 2005 11:05 PM
Subject: Re: Molecular taxonomy: on way out?

> Response to Richard Zander:
>>Hang on, now. It's the interrelationships of the genes, promoters,
>>regulators, and whatnot that determine the phenotype which is the focus of
>>evolutionary selection. I get an implication from your sentence (below),
>>Les, that ALL available information is now relatively accessible.
>>Phylogenetic analyses that evaluate accumulations of mutations in junk DNA
>>may not be tracking phenotypic expressions of variously regulated exons.
>>Interrelationships ("phenomics") are hardly relatively accessible at the
>>present time.
> Well, it is relatively accessible, in the sense that the "whatnots" are
> being sorted out - it's only a matter of time. Meanwhile, good taxonomic
> classifications (when accompanied by detailed group descriptions!) should
> be
> helping point molecular biologists in the right directions for getting
> handles on them. In this connection, I can't resist drawing attention to
> the
> fact that the inappropriateness of their term "junk DNA" (belatedly being
> debunked) was rather strongly indicated by taxonomic evidence that was
> available before the so-called junk was 'discovered'!
> Dr. Les Watson
> 10, Maitland Avenue
> Little Grove, Albany,         Email: leswatson at
> WA 6330, Australia            Phone: +61 (8) 98 44 4398

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