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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2009 Aug 12;364(1527):2221-8. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2009.0032.

The practice of classification and the theory of evolution, and what the demise of Charles Darwin's tree of life hypothesis means for both of them.

Author information

  • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. ford@dal.ca

Abstract

Debates over the status of the tree of life (TOL) often proceed without agreement as to what it is supposed to be: a hierarchical classification scheme, a tracing of genomic and organismal history or a hypothesis about evolutionary processes and the patterns they can generate. I will argue that for Darwin it was a hypothesis, which lateral gene transfer in prokaryotes now shows to be false. I will propose a more general and relaxed evolutionary theory and point out why anti-evolutionists should take no comfort from disproof of the TOL hypothesis.

PMID:
19571242
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2873000
Free PMC Article
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