[Taxacom] Robust argument

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Sun Jun 28 17:03:11 CDT 2009

(Snarl, gnash.)

Yes, yes, okay, I see your point about irretrievablity in general,
Richard, and agree. 

However, the environment provides selection. The role of selection is
commonly large, pace the inveterate neutralists, and stabilizing
selection over thousands and millions of years is the basis for
taxonomy, being that which keeps species together instead of just
mutating into a stochastic blur of traits. 

Lack of information on environmental effects on phylogenetics removes an
important dimension in phylogenetic analysis. (The dog didn't bark that
night. Can we make a deduction?)

Also, to what extent does some evo-devo gene complex as it exists in the
present in different species help track phylogenetically changes in
morphological trait complexes over geological time that correlate with
selection pressures that change as environments change (whew, long
sentence, isn't it)? If there is a mutation in the gene complex that
matters in terms of selection on the basis of expressed traits (making
the gene complex truly representative of a different expressed trait
liable to environmental selection), then convergence must occur as
different species adapt to the same environments, and this will screw up
phylogenetic analysis, which assumes no or little convergence.

Richard H. Zander 
Voice: 314-577-0276
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at mobot.org
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-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Pyle
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009 4:14 PM
To: Richard Zander; 'Bob Mesibov'; michael.heads at yahoo.com
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Robust argument


> Well, that morphology which is a combination of genetics plus 
> environment is only partly in the genome. The environment 
> part is not retrievable.

Ummmm...and to what extent is the environment part (i.e., without
underpinnings) infromative about phylogeny (at least across what most of
would refer to as evolutionary time scales)?

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