Abstract # 1826 Event # 184:

Scheduled for Wednesday, June 28, 2006 08:30 AM-09:30 PM: (Queen Elizabeth Theater) Plenary


Plenary: Molecular Phylogenetics of the order primates

T. R. Disotell
Center for the Study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA
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     Molecular approaches used to study primate evolution have become increasingly informative and sophisticated. Molecular data collected over the last three decades has dramatically shaped our understanding of the Order Primates. The entire genomes of humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques have now been sequenced with the sequencing of additional taxa under way or planned for the near future. Some of the biggest advances in the field allow us to determine DNA sequences and to characterize genetic markers such as microsatellites, SINES, LINES, and SNPs from non-invasively collected samples including hair, feces, skins, bones, and museum specimens. Analytical models based upon parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian approaches have been developed that take into account both theoretical advances in the field and empirically tested models of molecular evolution. Techniques to infer molecular divergence date estimates with associated errors have been and continue to be developed and applied even to lineages that are undergoing different rates of molecular evolution. These advances have been particularly informative in studying human, ape, and Old World monkey phylogeny, population genetics, and molecular evolution. However, many gaps still exist in our investigations of New World monkeys, tarsiers, lemurids, and lorisids, though the broad outlines of their phylogenetic history are better understood as well. Molecular analyses clearly are providing major contributions to our knowledge of primate evolutionary history, taxonomy, and conservation.