Navigation Links
Analysis finds strong match between molecular, fossil data in evolutionary studies
Date:4/28/2009

During a seminar at another institution several years ago, University of Chicago paleontologist David Jablonski fielded a hostile question: Why bother classifying organisms according to their physical appearance, let alone analyze their evolutionary dynamics, when molecular techniques had already invalidated that approach?

With more than a few heads in the audience nodding their agreement, Jablonski, the William Kenan Jr. Professor in Geophysical Sciences, saw more work to be done. The question launched him on a rigorous study that has culminated in a new approach to reconciling the conflict between fossil and molecular data in evolutionary studies.

For more than two decades, debate has waxed and waned between biologists and paleontologists about the reliability of their different methods. Until now, attention has focused on the dramatically different evolutionary history of certain lineages as determined by fossils or by genetics.

Scientists using molecular techniques assert that genetics more accurately determines evolutionary relationships than does a comparison of physical characteristics preserved in fossils. But how inaccurate, really, were the fossils? Jablonski and the University of Michigan's John A. Finarelli have published the first quantitative assessment of these assumed discrepancies in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

They compared the molecular data to data based on the kinds of features used to distinguish fossil lineages for 228 mammal and 197 mollusk lineages at the genus level (both wolves and dogs belong to the genus Canis, for example).

No matter how they looked at it, the lineages defined by their fossil forms "showed an imperfect but very good fit to the molecular data," Jablonski said. The fits were generally far better than random. The few exceptions included freshwater clams, "a complete disaster," he said.

Jablonski and Finarelli (Ph.D.'07, University of Chicago), then decided to push their luck. They looked at the fits again, but this time focused on geographic range and body size. The result: a "spectacularly robust" match between the fossil and molecular data.

Jablonski interprets the results as good news for evolutionary studies. The work backs up a huge range of analyses among living and fossil animals, from trends in increasing body size in mammal lineages, to the dramatic ups and downs of diversity reported in the fossil record of evolutionary bursts and mass extinctions.

"Our study also points the way toward new partnerships with molecular biology, as we straighten out the mismatches that we did find," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Koppes
s-koppes@uchicago.edu
773-702-8366
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Scientists develop method for comprehensive proteome analysis
2. MCTP bought Genomatix NextGen Sequencing analysis stations
3. CRG buys Genomatix Next Generation Sequencing analysis solution
4. JCVI program trains USDA scientists on eukaryotic genome analysis
5. Boehringer Ingelheim uses Genomatix Next Generation Sequencing data analysis systems
6. Analysis of fresh strawberries reveals consumer preferences
7. Execretion analysis aids primate social studies
8. US science education organization updates analysis
9. Powerful online tool for protein analysis provided pro bono by Stanford geneticist
10. Microarray analysis improves prenatal diagnosis
11. MIT analysis shows how cap-and-trade plans can cut greenhouse emissions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Analysis finds strong match between molecular, fossil data in evolutionary studies
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of high-precision biometric ... Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a complete system ... ABIS can process multiple complex biometric transactions with ... fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It leverages the ... MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have been used ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... AVIV, Israel , April 14, 2016 ... Behavioral Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment ... already assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership ... BioCatch, on the heels of the deployment of its ... addition, BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, ... microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another ... year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample ... the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, ... 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to ... down 0.17%. Stock-Callers.com has initiated coverage on the following equities: ... (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing their ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... India , June 23, 2016 ... media market research report to its pharmaceuticals section ... profiles, product details and much more. ... spread across 151 pages, profiling 15 companies and ... available at http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/601420-global-cell-culture-media-industry-2016-market-research-report.html . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: