Phylogenetics

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Category archives for Phylogenetics

The Great Chain of Phylogenetic Wrongness

Phylogeny Friday — 18 July 2008 When they published the initial analysis of the complete platypus genome (doi:10.1038/nature06936), Nature, as they’re wont to do, also put out a news item announcing the major findings (doi:10.1038/453138a). That news article included a phylogeny illustrating the evolutionary relationships of various animal species in various stages of having their…

The Evolutionary History of Birds

Phylogeny Friday — 27 June 2008 I haven’t done a Phylogeny Friday in about a month, but a recent paper reporting a “phylogenomic study of birds” was worth mentioning (doi:10.1126/science.1157704). Now, this isn’t phylogenomics as Jonathan Eisen defined it. The bird evolution paper describes building a tree using lots of molecular markers. I don’t have…

The Phylogenetics of Animal Testing

Phylogeny Friday — 30 May 2008 Research on animals in under attack throughout the world. Animal rights activists not only stage rallies against animal testing, but they also engage in criminal behavior. They vandalize property, sabotage experiments, and terrorize researchers. How can scientists fight back? Michael Conn and James Parker have written book documenting the…

Whad’ya Know About Protists?

My advisor has recently got me listening to Whad’ya Know. My first reaction: It’s like Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Only not as funny, not as interesting, and not as good. I’ve been downloading the podcasts for the past couple of weeks, and I’m not sure whether I’ll keep subscribing in iTunes. I’m only bringing this…

Phylogeny Friday — 25 April 2008

Duh! That’s Obvious, Edition Take a look at this mastodon skeleton: Does it look like anything you recognize? Perhaps a large terrestrial mammal with big tusks. If you said “elephant” you win. The prize: nothing. That is half of the conclusion from a recent paper in Science (doi:10.1126/science.1154284). Really. The other half: birds and dinosaurs…

Saving the Name of Drosophila melanogaster

The Drosophila genus is paraphyletic. That means there are species nested within the phylogeny of the genus that belong to other genera. Or, in other words, there are species descended from the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all Drosophila species that belong to different genera. If that doesn’t make sense, just look at the…

Phylogeny Friday — 11 April 2008

Drosophila Are Not Fruit Flies Edition As I have mentioned before, Drosophila are not fruit flies. Tephritids are fruit flies. Drosophila feed on rotting fruit, while true fruit flies feed on fresh fruit. That makes true fruit flies agricultural pests. Drosophila, on the other hand, are connoisseurs of the finer things in life — wine,…

Phylogeny Friday — 1 February 2008

Paraphyly in Drosophila Many biology students have hands-on experience working with Drosophila melanogaster. This little fly is one of the major workhorses of genetics. It may not be for long. That’s not to say people will stop working with the fly, but the fly may no longer be named “Drosophila melanogaster“. That’s because the Drosophila…

Phylogeny Friday — 28 December 2007

Historical Inaccuracy Edition A lot of us who work in well established biological systems take for granted how those systems were first discovered or established. Sometimes this involves the choice by an individual to begin studying development using a small worm. Other times it’s the fortunate discovery of visible chromosomes allowing for physical maps of…

This is a repost (with some edits) of an introduction to publishing original research on blogs — a series I am reintroducing. The original entry can be found here. Previous entries: Part 1 – Introduction This post is part of a series exploring the evolution of a duplicated gene in the genus Drosophila. Links to…