The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 47: 479 - 490 (2003)

Vol 47, Issue 7-8

Special Issue: Evolution & Development

The place of phylogeny and cladistics in Evo-Devo research

Published: 1 December 2003

Maximilian J Telford and Graham E Budd

Department Zoology, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK.


Here we review the various uses to which phylogenetic trees may be put when analysing the evolution of organisms and of the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics of these organisms. We briefly discuss the cladistic method and its application in the inference of phylogenetictrees. Next we consider the uses to which phylogenetic trees can be put: in particular for determining the homology or otherwise of characters distributed on those trees and for estimating the likely characteristics of ancestral taxa. Finally we show the application of this information for deepening our understanding of the processes of evolution. All of these forms of inference are fundamental for comparative biology and of immediate importance to the practice of evolutionary developmental biology.

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