Special Issue "Cladistic Analysis and Molecular Evolution"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2009)
Prof. Dr. Alan R. Templeton
Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130-4899, USA
Cladistics comes from the Greek word clade, which means branch. In this case, the branches or clades are referring to parts of evolutionary trees. In modern systematics, cladistics refers to a method of inferring evolutionary trees based on character state data. However, cladistic analysis also connotes any type of analysis that uses branches of evolutionary trees as part of its statistical design. Increasingly, the evoltuionary trees used in cladistic analysis are the trees of genetic variation found in a DNA region with little to no recombination. This variation can be within species, between species, or a mixture of the two. A broad range of topics can be addressed by cladistic analysis. The analysis can focus on associations between clades and phenotypic variation at a candidate locus within a species, or look at differences between species or evolutionary lineages with respect to behavior, morphology or ecology. Cladistic analysis can be used to study associations between clades and geography within species in order to investigate its phylogeography, which in turn has applications in genetic epidemiology (such as identifying causes of population stratification), in conservation biology, and in inferring species status. Cladistic analysis can also be turned inward upon the gene region under study as a tool to investigate non-random patterns of mutation, recombination, and gene conversion. The common theme behind all these analyses is that many of the associations between genetic variation and other factors is influenced or even determined by evolutionary history. Therefore, the evolutionary history captured by the clades in an evolutionary tree can greatly increase our power to detect and understand associations observed at the present time.
Alan R. Templeton
- Genes - an Open Access journal of genetics and genomics.
- cladistic analysis
- molecular evolution (evolution of the DNA, RNA and proteins, evolution of enzyme functions)
- molecular systematics
- taxonomy and classifications