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14 - Molecular Phylogeny

from PART I - CONTEXT

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2010

John H. McVey
Affiliation:
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
William C. Aird
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
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Summary

An important challenge in studying evolutionary biology is to reconstruct the past based primarily on evidence from the present by studying the comparative biology and molecular phylogeny of present-dayorganisms. Studying the fossil record may help fill some of the gaps in our understanding. Unfortunately, the cardiovascular system does not fossilize; therefore, any rendition of the evolutionary history of the endothelium is at best speculative. In constructing a hierarchical pattern of evolution based on the comparative analysis of structure and function, it is assumed that two structures that look similar are closely related, however, structures also may look similar because they have evolved similar adaptations, so called convergent evolution. For example, the arthropod Tachypleus tridentatus (Japanese horseshoe crab) contains a clotting system consisting of a protease cascade of three serine protease zymogens and a clottable protein (coagulogen). The components of this cascade are stored in granules in hemocytes and released in response to foreign substances such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Hemolymph coagulation in the horseshoe crab shares many common features with the vertebrate-clotting system (cascade of serine protease zymogens, clottable protein, and LPS response), but the proteins involved are quite different and have arisen independently of each other. Conversely, structures that no longer look similar nor appear to share a common function may have arisen from a common ancestor through divergent evolution. Similar pitfalls befall the analysis of molecular sequences: Because genomes have evolved through duplication events, many coding sequences may share a degree of sequence identity with each other; however, this does not mean that they share a common function. For example, it is widely believed that large regional or whole genome duplications have contributed to the structure of vertebrate genomes (1,2).

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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  • Molecular Phylogeny
    • By John H. McVey, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
  • Edited by William C. Aird, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Endothelial Biomedicine
  • Online publication: 04 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546198.015
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  • Molecular Phylogeny
    • By John H. McVey, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
  • Edited by William C. Aird, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Endothelial Biomedicine
  • Online publication: 04 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546198.015
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Molecular Phylogeny
    • By John H. McVey, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom
  • Edited by William C. Aird, Harvard University, Massachusetts
  • Book: Endothelial Biomedicine
  • Online publication: 04 May 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511546198.015
Available formats
×