Dechronization is a group blog devoted to the methodology of phylogenetic tree reconstruction. Today they published an interview with a very influential individual in the field, Joe Felsenstein, whom some of you may recognize as a regular reader of this blog. I’ll quote the first part because it actually pertains to some of the research that I am doing right now—and will talk about this summer in Iowa at SMBE (hopefully) and in Idaho at Evolution.
LH: What are the most exciting recent developments in systematics / comparative methods?
JF: The availability of genome-scale information is certainly one. The arrival of a generation of young researchers who are comfortable with statistical and computational approaches is another. But the most important development is reflected in recent work on coalescent trees of gene copies within trees of species. What this does is tie together between-species molecular evolution and within-species population genetics. Those two lines of work have been developing almost independently since the 1960s. But now, with population samples of sequences at multiple loci in multiple related species, they are coming back together. This is not another Modern Synthesis, but it is a major event that needs a name. How about the “Family Reunion”? Long-estranged relatives who have not been in touch are getting together.