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Posted by Langaha on October 18, 2002 at 07:22:37:
In Reply to: Re: Taxonomy is a matter of evidence...most of the time posted by WW on October 18, 2002 at 04:37:12:
I knew we were thinking the same way for the most part. Although they sequenced 2 mt genes, they only used 1 to create their phylogeny because the d-loop (the 1 they supposedly sequenced) was useless to include. Not surprising for snakes (also see the Nerodia clarkii study). There have been other studies recently that have show the limitations of cyt b for recently evolving populations, ND4 is faster evolving and shows much more resolution at the population level (some clades actually overlap with some recognized ssp in the eastern US, while cyt b only shows the same pattern for these snakes as the Elaphe obsoleta study). If these snake species shared a similar evolutionary history (as we suspect due to glacial events and present distribution) then we should expect that ND4 could also give us more resolution between populations. I know this may be wordy, but I am rushed with work today. I just feel that if they had more molecular characters (with ND4 or other genes) than we might see some better resolution for the group. I certainly didn't mean to be picking on the Elaphe papers, but they are great examples of what we were discussing. Please see my post below. What if they (or another study) found their clades to be overlapping with recognized ssp, but there was not reciprocal monophyly (due to gene flow) and few base differences b/w them. Certainly they have an evolutionary history, but what do we call them, species of subspecies? I believe that this is a good case for recognizing subspecies.