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25 de abril de 2009

Phylogeology – A New Revolution in Phylogenetics

Para quitar el mal sabor de boca del sarcasmo verosímil de la semana pasada aquí les dejo algo que es realmente para dar risa: olvidemos las biomoléculas como el ADN; lo nuevo son los DATOS ATOMICOS! Asi es, filogenetica mas alla de lo molecular.

Systematics and Biogeography: Phylogeology – A New Revolution in Phylogenetics

Evolutionary biologists were stunned this week by the news of Geological Phylogenetics. "Genetics is dead" says geologist Prof. Trevor Bruce of the University of Ulladulla, Australia. For 20 years molecular DNA has changed the way biologists do phylogenetics. Geological Phylogenetics, or Phylogeology, proposes to dispense with biological data all together. Prof. Bruce explains, "Molecular systematics has removed any notion of morphology, anatomy and taxonomy. We intend to get rid of molecules, making phylogenetics essentially free of any biological data".

The benefits of phylogeology are that only atoms will be analyzed. "All you need is a very large industrial-strength food processor and a mass spectrometer". Prof Bruce's team has successfully pureed an array of organisms including two pot plants, a goldfish and Dr. Hall's cat. "She wasn't too happy about it, so we made her first author" says Prof. Bruce. "So far we have analyzed percentages of 30 common elements including carbon, calcium iron and copper". And success! Already Prof. Bruce's team has the data for most common household pets and their relationships. "It's simple" explains Dr. Hall, "a dog and a cat will have a similar atomic make-up, just like two similar rocks. As genetics has brought its methods and theory into phylogenetics, we bring geological techniques. Pureeing and 'mass-specing' critters are one of them".


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