Origin and Phylogeny of Metazoans as Reconstructed with rDNA Sequences

  • J. W. Wägele
  • F. Rödding
Part of the Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology book series (PMSB, volume 21)


Today, students of zoology will find a large number of incompatible dendrograms of the major groups of metazoans in textbooks and articles (examples in Figs. 1 and 2) inferred from rDNA alignments. Discrepancies existed before molecular data were used: a long debate, for example, was the discussion on the monophyly of arthropods. S. Manton (1902–1979) advocated her hypotheses of polyphyly of arthropods on the basis of excellent morphological studies (e.g. Manton 1969, 1973) and it took many years of research, partly with new methods (e.g. Wheeler et al. 1993), until the majority of the scientific community accepted what was already well-founded decades before (e.g. Snodgrass 1950), namely that arthropods are with high probability monophyletic. The major source of uncertainty in comparative morphology is the lack of scientific concepts that allow a quantitative estimation of the quality (= information content) of characters and data sets. Only recently has the first author proposed that the terms “information content” and “data quality” are related to the probability of homology of the characters (Wägele 1996b).


rDNA Sequence rDNA Gene Concerted Evolution Phylogeny Reconstruction Apomorphic Character 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Wägele
  • F. Rödding
    • 1
  1. 1.Fakultät für BiologieRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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