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Archiv 2017

Veröffentlicht: 20.02.2017 Share it on Facebook

Schildkröten im Fokus, Bergheim 14 (1) 2017: 14–27

Sind phylogenetische Stammbäume nur ein Traum?

Text von Hans-Jürgen Bidmon, Düsseldorf
Fotos von Hans-Jürgen Bidmon, Düsseldorf, Ude Fass, Böhl-Iggelheim, Thorsten Geier, Biebertal, Horst Köhler, Friedberg, Beate Pfau, Aarbergen, Benjy Sturlese, Treviso, Italien und Thomas & Sabine Vinke, Filadelfia, Paraquay

Are phylogenetic trees of life just a dream?

Text from Hans-Jürgen Bidmon, Düsseldorf, Germany
Photos from Hans-Jürgen Bidmon, Düsseldorf, Germany, Ude Fass, Böhl-Iggelheim, Germany, Thorsten Geier, Biebertal, Germany, Horst Köhler, Friedberg, Germany, Beate Pfau, Aarbergen, Germany, Benjy Sturlese, Treviso, Italien and Thomas & Sabine Vinke, Filadelfia, Paraquay


This perspectives article discusses new insights about the interaction between phenotypes/genotypes with their local environments, using chelonians as a case in point. These interactions can result in various specialized adaptations within local populations due to environmental needs, including epigenetic as well as cognitive mechanisms which lead to morphological, physiological/biochemical, and behavioral adaptions that can be used in addition to currently used species-specific DNA characteristics for taxonomic identification. A high level of gene flow has been elucidated as one of the most important condition for fast adaptation and long term survival, including hybridization and introgression. In recent years, it has become clear that hybridization contributes not only to a reduction in fertility and biodiversity in a minority of higher mammals, but also enhances fast adaptation and survival for most species of all phyla and contributes profoundly to the recovery of evolutional lines and new forms of speciation. This contributes to the long term survival of genetic lines leading not to a phylogenetic tree of life in the classical sense, but it also forms a reticulated net among evolutional genomic lines at all taxonomic levels. Turtles and tortoises seem especially equipped to follow this evolutional trait for reticulated gene line survival on a global scale during their 229 million years of fossil record, which reminds us to consider this in conservation biology, species (gene line) management and rehabilitation of almost extinct species. Therefore, the article concludes by outlining some practical issues regarding conservation, management of highly endangered species, and population conservation in strongly fragmented landscapes which are provided for consideration.

Key words

Chelonia, Testudines, hybridization, introgression, reticulated evolution, phylogeny.


Hans-Jürgen Bidmon

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