January 23, 2008
Posted by scott at January 23, 2008 02:31 PM
A group of geneticist are making the claim that one whole branch of the "tree of life" should be pruned. Since I'm (obviously) not a geneticist, I'll have to defer to the peer reviewers and the *shudder* reporters on this one. Ancient biology fascinates me, but the details tend to make my head 'asplode.
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This is very possible and has been something of discussion in genetics for quite some time. Those original "branches", and indeed almost all species, were originally differentiated based on phenotypic differences and the ability to interbreed and produce viable offspring. If it looks different, it is different being the main motto.
However, genetics were quickly demonstrating that this isn't the best way to do things. Things that looked remarkably different, had different characteristics, etc., showed remarkable genetic similarity. Species have been moved around the trees for quite some time now.
Given that, it's not all that surprising. Kind of like Pluto not being a planet.
Expect a very large sissy-fight amongst the scientific community...