Do Molecular Clocks Run at All? A Critique of Molecular Systematics

Biological Theory 1 (4):357-371 (2006)
Abstract
Although molecular systematists may use the terminology of cladism, claiming that the reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships is based on shared derived states , the latter is not the case. Rather, molecular systematics is based on the assumption, first clearly articulated by Zuckerkandl and Pauling , that degree of overall similarity reflects degree of relatedness. This assumption derives from interpreting molecular similarity between taxa in the context of a Darwinian model of continual and gradual change. Review of the history of molecular systematics and its claims in the context of molecular biology reveals that there is no basis for the “molecular assumption.”
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