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Trends Ecol Evol. 2007 May;22(5):258-65. Epub 2007 Feb 14.

Deciphering ancient rapid radiations.

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Department of Entomology, 320 Morrill Hall, 505 S. Goodwin Ave., University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


A deeper phylogenetic understanding of ancient patterns of diversification would contribute to solving many problems in evolutionary biology, yet many of these phylogenies remain poorly resolved. Ancient rapid radiations pose a major challenge for phylogenetic analysis for two main reasons. First, the pattern to be deciphered, the order of divergence among lineages, tends to be supported by small amounts of data. Second, the time since divergence is large and, thus, the potential for misinterpreting phylogenetic information is great. Here, we review the underlying causes of difficulty in determining the branching patterns of diversification in ancient rapid radiations, and review novel data exploration tools that can facilitate understanding of these radiations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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