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Abstract Detail


Bringing Together the Living and Dead: Integrating Extant and Fossil Biodiversity in Evolutionary Studies

Wiens, John [1].

Paleontology, genomics, and combined-data phylogenetics: can molecular data improve phylogeny estimation for fossil taxa?

THE flood of new molecular data, facilitated by genomics-based approaches, is now making it possible to resolve the phylogeny of living taxa with ever increasing accuracy. Yet, the phylogeny of many fossil taxa remains uncertain, and phylogenetic information for fossil taxa has important benefits that go beyond the phylogeny itself (e.g., inferring divergence dates). Unfortunately, analyses addressing the phylogeny of fossil taxa may seem to derive little benefit from the abundance of new molecular data for living taxa. Although it is true that molecular data may have little to offer phylogenetic analyses within some groups of entirely extinct taxa, in many groups, a significant problem in resolving the phylogeny of fossil taxa is that the relationships of living taxa are also uncertain. In this talk, I will address whether the increased phylogenetic resolution of living taxa can help improve phylogeny estimation for fossil taxa, with emphasis on the combination and analysis of molecular, extant morphological, and paleontological data in a single data matrix and the problem (or non-problem) of the extensive missing data in such matrices. First, I will review results from simulations and empirical studies addressing the consequences of combining data sets with very different shapes (e.g., many taxa but few characters, as for fossil taxa versus fewer taxa with many characters, as in living taxa) and the possible impacts of missing data. Second, I will use new simulations to test the idea that extensive molecular data from living taxa can help improve the accuracy of phylogenetic analysis for taxa known only from fossils.


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1 - Stony Brook University, Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook, New York, 11794-5245, USA

Keywords:
Combined analysis
fossils
Genomics
Missing data
molecular data
phylogeny.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 57-1
Location: 134/Performing Arts Center
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 2:15 PM
Abstract ID:344


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