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Posted by troy h on December 10, 2002 at 12:09:49:
perhaps it would be nice if Rick Staub or someone else working with mtDNA data sets would get on here and contribute to this discussion . . . but for now, i'd like to point out a few limitations of mtDNA analyses . . .
1) since mtDNA is matrilineal (i.e. its all inherited from your mother), use mtDNA underestimates gene flow. as you know, females of most species are more sedentary than males (of herps in particular) - most females grow up and live their lives in a relatively small home range. its males that get up and move around - much of animal dispersal and therefore gene flow is due to movement of young males away from their birthplace.
2) every gene on mtDNA is inherited as a unit because the mtDNA is a single loop of DNA
3) mtDNA is not under the same sort of selection pressures as are nuclear DNA . . .
i do understand that using nuclear DNA is more difficult and time consuming (and expensive). . . but i think that this sort of DNA would reveal much better (i.e. closer to actual relationships) results in phylogenetic analyses.