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Phylogeny and Classification of Birds: A Study in Molecular Evolution

Out of Print

By: CG Sibley and JE Ahlquist

1008 pages, 385 figs

Yale University Press

Hardback | Dec 1991 | #10935 | ISBN: 0300040857
Out of Print Details

About this book

This massive tome presents the results of a study of the evolutionary history and classification of living birds, based on comparison of the DNA of 1700 species. They used a technique called `DNA-DNA hybridization' - a biochemical method that measures the degree of genetic similarity between the DNAs of different species. The first chapters give an introduction to DNA and the study method, but the bulk of the book concerns the phylogeny and classification of birds. There is a chronological survey of the classifications of birds since Linnaeus. For each order and family the history of classification is given, morphological characters are noted, and evidence of the phylogeny and genetic relationships are given. A valuable text for ornithologists and other biologists, and the basis for future works on avian classification, it forms a companion volume to the title Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World.
`... will stir up debate concerning the taxonomic ordering of birds for years to come...' David Parkin, British Birds


Part 1: a brief history; structure and properties of DNA; gene structure and function; genetic regulation; DNA reassociation and thermal stability; the sequence organization of the genome; the families of repeated DNA; homology; comparative DNA-DNA studies; materials and methods; data analysis; tempo of evolution; demographic factors and rates of DNA evolution; a chronological survey of the classification of birds; principles and methods of classification; classification of birds based on DNA-DNA hybridization; melting curves and dendrograms. Part 2: accounts of the groups of birds.

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