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Unit Chapters
Genomics
Proteins & Proteomics
Evolution & Phylogenetics
Introduction
A Brief History of Classification
Cladistics and Classification
Applications of Molecular Phylogenetics
HIV and Forensic Uses of Phylogenetics
The Origin of Bats and Flight
Challenges
Coda: The Renaissance of Comparative Biology
Microbial Diversity
Emerging Infectious Diseases
HIV & AIDS
Genetics of Development
Cell Biology & Cancer
Human Evolution
Neurobiology
Biology of Sex & Gender
Biodiversity
Genetically Modified Organisms
Coda: The Renaissance of Comparative Biology

We are witnessing a renewal of interest in comparative approaches to studying function. Biology in the 1800s was almost entirely comparative. In the twentieth century we moved into a strongly reductionistic period of genetics, developmental biology, and physiology. This trend only intensified with the rise of molecular biology, particularly after the elucidation of the structure of DNA in 1953. At that time, comparative biology was marginalized as just "natural history." At the turn of the twenty-first century comparative approaches have staged a strong comeback. In large part, this renaissance is due to the revolution in data gathering (particularly of DNA sequences) and the effort already devoted to establishing particular model systems. In contrast to the comparative biology of ninteenth century, today's comparative evolutionary biology rests on a strong foundation of functional genetics.

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End Notes

  1. Gould, S. J. 1987. Natural History.


  2. Futuyma, D. J. 1998. Evolutionary Biology. 3d ed. Sunderland MA: Sinauer Press, p. 11.


  3. Iwabe, N., K. Kuma, M. Hasegawa, S. Osawa, and T. Miyata. 1989. Evolutionary relationship of the archebacteria, eubacteria, and eukaryotes inferred from phylogenetic trees of duplicated genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 86:9355-9359.


  4. Hillis, D. M., J. P. Huelsenbeck, and C. W. Cunningham. 1994. Application and accuracy of molecular phylogenies. Science 264:671-77.


  5. Ammerman, L. K., and D. M. Hillis. 1992. A molecular test of bat relationships:Monophyly or diphyly? Systematic Biology 41: 222-32.




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