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What are the advantages and disadvantages of using DNA sequence data for assessing relationships between the major groups of land plants?

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  • Essay length: 2420 words
  • Submitted: 15/12/2002
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University Degree Genetics

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Plants

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using DNA sequence data for assessing relationships between the major groups of land plants?

The relationships between land plants, particularly the lower levels of the Bryophytes and the origins of the Angiosperms, has been a highly contested debate throughout the history of plant sciences. The introduction of molecular analysis of the relationships between these major groups, in the form of DNA sequence data, has revolutionised the subject in the last twenty years. It has affected the key aspects of plant phylogeny. Robust and unequivocal interactions have been identified confirming the phylogenetic tree, although it's intricacies and temporal detail is still far from complete. Although it may seem that DNA sequence data is the answer to these problems there are still things that require morphological evidence, a practice that is as old as plant sciences itself. This essay will outline the contributions made by DNA sequencing data to plant phylogeny and its limitations.

The taxonomy of the land plants and subsequent theories of their evolution has been investigated for the past two centuries, however the contributions of Linnaeus in 1753 laid a sound foundation for future study of the subject.

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