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Molecular morphology: higher order characters derived from sequence data


Peter F. Stadler
University Leipzig, Germany

The availability of complete genome-wide sequence information for large numbers of taxa provides new opportunities and poses new challenges for phylogenetic analysis. Implicitly, the genome sequence encode higher level features that in themselves contain phylogenetic information that can be analyzed independent of models of sequence information. Examples are repetitive elements, gene content and gene order, locations of introns, microRNA content, and RNA structures. Such features can serve as highly informative and relatively homoplasy-free characters, akin to morphological approaches. In order to make these features usable for large scale phylogenetic studies, however, one first has to extract them from the genomic sequence data. In my presentation I will review recent progress in this area, with an emphasis of deep metazoan phylogeny.