Chapter Eleven The Meaning Of It

The methods of phylogenetic systematics are discussed in a number of sources. Key primary literature includes the classic work of Willi Hennig, published originally in German (Grundz├╝ge einer Theorie der phylogenetischen Systematik [Berlin: Deutscher Zentralverlag, 1950]) and translated into English more than a decade later (Phylogenetic Systematics, trans. D. D. Davis and R. Zangerl [Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1966]).

Methods of phylogenetic reconstruction, which form the basis for the chapter, are discussed in detail in P. Forey, ed., Cladistics: A Practical Course in Systematics (Oxford, Eng.: Clarendon Press, 1992); D. Hillis, C. Moritz, and B. Mable, eds., Molecular Systematics (Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates, 1996); R. DeSalle, G. Girbet, and W. Wheeler, Molecular Systematics and Evolution: Theory and Practice (Basel: BirkhauserVerlag, 2002).

A comprehensive treatment of the phenomenon of independent evolution of similar features is in M. Sanderson and L. Hufford, Homoplasy: The Recurrence of Similarity in Evolution (San Diego: Academic Press, 1996).

To see the tree of life and the different hypotheses for the relationships between living creatures, visit

The notion that our evolutionary history has medical implications has been the subject of several good recent books. For comprehensive and well-referenced treatments, see N. Boaz, Evolving Health: The Origins of Illness and How the Modern World Is Making Us Sick (New York: Wiley, 2002); D. Mindell, The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006); R. M. Nesse and G. C. Williams, Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine (New York: Vintage, 1996); W. R. Trevathan, E. O. Smith, and J. J. McKenna, Evolutionary Medicine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).

The apnea example I derived from discussions with Nino Ramirez, chairman of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Chicago. The hiccup example is derived from Straus, C., et al. (2003) A phylogenetic hypothesis for the origin of hiccoughs, Bioessays 25:182-188. The human-bacterial gene switch used in the study of mitochondrial cardioencephalomyopathy was originally discussed in Lucioli, S., et al. (2006) Introducing a novel human mtDNA mutation into the Paracoccus denitriticans COX 1 gene explains functional deficits in a patient, Neurogenetics 7:51-57.

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